Preparing LAUSD Students for the Global Economy Maximizing the Assets of Dual Language Learners in the Early Years
English Learners (ELs) and Dual Language Learners (DLLs) enter our education system with intellectual, social, and personal assets that can help them compete in today’s global context and contribute to our national economy and security: their home language. Our DLL/EL population is culturally and linguistically diverse with varying levels of proficiency in their home language and English. Development of the child’s home language is critical to English proficiency and overall academic achievement. Research over the past two decades has provided tremendous insight into the brain and language development process of young children and the critical window of the first five years of life.
California is home to the largest population of English Learners in the United States, with more than 1.4 million ELs enrolled in public schools (or 22.1% of the total state public school population). Further, among our youngest learners in California, 57% of children birth through age five live in a household where English is not the primary language. In Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), of the over 14,000 children served in the district’s Early Education Centers and State Preschool programs, 50% are DLL students. With 165,000 English Learners enrolled in LAUSD, the district is home to the largest EL population in the state. As such, California, and LAUSD have important leadership roles in advancing policy and practice in DLL/EL education.
Advancement Project California’s policy brief provides an overview of what the research shows about the importance of early language development, the advantages if bilingualism, the importance of family engagement, language program models, key policies and recommendations for LAUSD and other district leadership to consider as they engage in the implementation of Proposition 58.