Mayor’s ed team announces slight expansion in dual language programs, but past promises have fallen flat as mayor has allowed bilingual ed programs to flounder.
CHICAGO, November 27, 2018—Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey issued the followingin response to news that CPS has promised to expand dual language programming to eight additional schools.
“Dual Language programs are the gold standard in bilingual education, and the CTU has long advocated for their implementation in Chicago. The recent announcement that CPS is expanding dual language programs to eight additional schools leaves us skeptical, however, because of the district’s track record.
“In 2015, CPS ignored a report by the Council of the Great City Schools that enumerated many deficiencies in their bilingual programs. Just two years ago, the Chicago Reporter audited 342 CPS schools and found that 71 percent of bilingual programs were in violation of state law. Yet CPS has has given schools until 2020 to bring bilingual programs into compliance with the law. These programs are typically understaffed—close to 100 bilingual and English as a Second Language teaching positions go unfilled every year. Also, too often, students do not have access to books and other materials in their native languages—just as the District provides little guidance or support for teachers when it comes to curricula in students’ native languages. Furthermore, CPS does not keep track of English learners when they leave bilingual programs, which is the best way to judge a programs’ efficacy.
“Students, parents, and staff deserve real accountability on bilingual education from CPS administrators and the Board of Education. Under the mayor’s hand-picked board, school policy is driven not by careful analysis of current programs but by whatever new announcement will make a splash and give the mayor a boost in the press. This is no way to run a school system. We need an elected, representative school board that will hold top CPS officials accountable to make good on their promises, and ensure real progress in academic programming for Chicago’s public school students.”