For public hearing 3/30/17
To: Senate Committee on Education
From: Dave Porter
Subject: Proposed amendments to SB 221
Please amend HB 221 by adding the following:
Section 1 (2) (c) require approved educator preparation programs for early childhood education and elementary education to train dual language immersion educators and to have at least fifty percent of each graduating class as dual language immersion teachers by 2025.
(1) Dual Language Immersion Programs not only teach significant second language skills but raise English reading skills for both English-native and foreign-language-native students and, therefore, should over time become the dominant model of public education in Oregon.
The 2012-15 “Study of Dual-Language Immersion in the Portland Public Schools” by RAND, the American Councils for International Education, and Portland Public Schools found that “Immersion programs as implemented in Portland appear to be a cost-effective strategy for raising English reading performance of both native English speakers and native speakers of other languages.”
The study included 27,741 students who enrolled in kindergarten in Portland Public Schools in 2004-05 through 2010-11. These students’ academic performance on the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) was tracked in reading, mathematics, and science through 2013-14, meaning that the youngest cohort was tracked through grade 3, and the oldest two cohorts through grade 8.
Within the sample, the main focus was on 1,625 students who were randomized to immersion or a control group via Portland’s immersion pre-K and Kindergarten immersion lotteries in 2004-05 through 2010-11. Through collaboration with the Oregon Department of Education, the study was able to include 200 randomized students (about 10.3%) who never enrolled in Portland after entering a pre-K or kindergarten immersion lottery. This left a similarly modest levels of sample attrition for students who won the lottery (13%) versus those who did not (19.3%).
The study found that students randomly assigned to immersion outperformed their peers in English reading by about 7 months in grade 5, and about 9 months in grade 8.
Further, DLI program costs about the same as non-DLI programs. The study found no evidence that observable peer, teacher, and class size characteristics were driving the effects of immersion on achievement. Class sizes appeared similar for immersion lottery winners and those who did not win immersion slots. Based on interviews in 2013-14 with 14 of 19 immersion school principals, they found that school-level resources for DLI and non-DLI Programs were proportional to immersion enrollments. DLI operating costs were concentrated at the district level. In 2013-14, they represented about 0.1% of the district’s operating budget (excluding grant dollars), though this represented a considerable increase in DLI costs from prior years. These expenditures, which were applied toward teacher professional development and curriculum support, amounted to $137 per immersion student in 2013-14 (n=4,108).
(2) Oregon needs a more multilingual workforce both to be more economically competitive in the Asia-Pacific region and to increase our national security through engagement in the Asia-Pacific region.
Elsewhere I have proposed that Oregon needs an additional educational goal as follows: “To prepare the next generations of adults for the global economic and national security challenges they will face over their lifetimes.” And, in seeking to meet that goal, Oregon should ensure that 10 percent of each cohort of Oregon high school graduates is fluent (ACTFL level “Intermediate High” or better) in Mandarin, 5 percent in Hindi, 5 percent in Indonesian, and 5 percent in Japanese.
Trade relations and the geo-politics of the Asia-Pacific region are in turmoil. By 2050, the five largest economies in the world are forecast to be in the Asian-Pacific region. China continues to grow its economy and military. North Korea may soon be able to hit Portland with a nuclear missile. Much of the Asian-Pacific region felt snubbed as President Trump rejected the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is difficult to foresee the long-term future of the region. But the region will be important.
Oregon education needs to prepare its next generation for the opportunities and challenges the Asia-Pacific region will present over their lifetimes. Preparation should include a new emphasis on teaching the important languages of the region and for sending Oregon high school students for high school years abroad in the countries of the region. None of this needs to cost more than the current system. Dual language immersion programs cost the same as non-immersion programs. Here is my 2013-14 count of kindergarteners in Oregon dual language immersion programs. These are not the statistics of a state engaged in the Asia-Pacific region.
Utah has many more Mandarin immersion programs. Here is a Fall 2016 comparison with Oregon.
Mandarin: Oregon currently has three public Mandarin immersion programs: Two in Portland Public Schools (Woodstock, King) and one in Beaverton (Hope Chinese Charter School). Portland Public Schools and the Eugene School District may each add a Mandarin immersion in 2017-18. Many more are needed.
Japanese: Portland Public Schools and the Eugene School District each have Japanese immersion programs.
There are now no Hindi or Indonesian immersion programs in Oregon.
Hindi: Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Standard Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English. Apart from specialized vocabulary, Hindi is mutually intelligible with Standard Urdu, another recognized register of Hindustani. Along with the English language, extinction. The largest local language is Javanese.
Indonesian is a standardized register of Malay, an Austronesian language that has been used as a lingua franca in the multilingual Indonesian archipelago for centuries. Of Indonesia’s large population, the majority speak Indonesian, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
Most Indonesians, aside from speaking the national language, are fluent in any of more than 700 indigenous local languages; examples include Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese, which are commonly used at home and within the local community. However, most formal education, and nearly all national mass media, governance, administration, judiciary, and other forms of communication, are conducted in Indonesian.
The Indonesian name for the language is Bahasa Indonesia (literally "the language of Indonesia") or sometimes simplified as Bahasa.
(3) There is an enormous need for more Spanish dual language immersion in Oregon.
Consider the following from the 3/1/17 follow up memo from Salem Noor, Superintendent of Public Instruction to Senator Rod Monroe, Co-Chair of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education:
Note that in a typical Spanish dual language immersion (DLI) program, only half the students are native Spanish speakers. So, to serve all native Spanish speakers (25% of students) with DLI programs, 50% of the Oregon Prekindergarten Early Head Start Program should be Spanish DLI programs, with continuations to K-5 Spanish DLI programs.
Further, my 2014 survey of statewide immersion programs found 11 Oregon school districts with more than 1,000 Hispanic students and no Spanish DLI program. There has been little change since. Ask the Department of Education to do an update.
Within those eleven school districts, there were fifteen schools each with a majority of Hispanic students (and no Spanish dual language immersion program), as follows: