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Cardona backs bilingualism as Biden boosts budget for English Language Learners

US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, is set to move Federal funding for English Language Learning, known as Title III money, back into the Office of English Language (OELA), in an attempt to increase the use of evidence-based practice and especially to support the burgeoning number of bilingual school programmes shooting up across the States.

Cardona, a Spanish English bilingual, former teacher and school principal, who holds a master’s degree in Bilingual Bicultural Education, announced the new proposal in February at the National Bilingual Teachers conference where he emphasised the effectiveness of the bilingual approach.

“The research makes clear: the academic effect of these programs are strong, both for English learners and for native English speakers,” Cardona said. He pointed out “a recent study shows that students enrolled in a dual language program scored 7 months ahead in reading in grade 5 and 9 months ahead in reading in grade 8.”

In 2008 the money for English Language Learning was moved into the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education which controls the mainstream Title I education funds. OELA remained as a research and training centre. With a 30 percent increase in funding for English Language Learning recently announced by President Biden, it is hoped the move of funding back to the specialist department will help spread good practice and smooth the way for the bilingual school project which has also proved popular with L1 English parents.

Cardona, who also announced funds to train bilingual teachers, said he looked forward to fostering “a new multilingual generation of Americans,” adding “To all of our students in America: ¡ Ya es tiempo de aprender otro idioma!” he added.

Image courtesy of Library
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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