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  • From the Editorial Board:Multilingualism for all or tools for gentrification? Call for the examination of dual language programs in secondary education
  • Wenyang Sun

[W]ho cares that he [Jeb Bush] speaks Mexican, this is America, English !!

—President Trump, August 24, 2015 (

[T]he passage of English as the official language will help to expand opportunities for immigrants to learn and speak English, the single greatest empowering tool that immigrants must have to succeed.

—U.S. English (

Symbolically, declaring English our official language would send this important message to new arrivals: if you aspire to avail yourselves of all the opportunities in this society, you have a responsibility to learn English as your very first priority.

—K.C. McAlpin, ProEnglish (

For decades, anti-immigrant groups (e.g., U.S. English, ProEnglish) have strived to make English the only language spoken in the United States and strongly opposed bilingual education for language-minoritized1 population (Ovando, 2003). Despite the continuous efforts from these groups to try to make the United States an English-only nation, researchers and educators have studied the benefit of instruction in language-minoritized students' first language, as well as the benefit of bilingual education for all children including advantages in the areas of cognitive development, academic achievement, socioemotional wellbeing, and future economic return (Crawford, 2000; Cummins, 2000; García, 2009; Steele et al., 2018). Among various bilingual education models, dual language (DL) programs, also known as "two-way immersion" or "dual-immersion," have gained increasing popularity and are exploding in numbers across the U.S. in recent years. The number of DL programs across the United States has reached nearly 2,000, and the growth is especially evident in states such as California, Texas, Utah, Delaware and Georgia, as well as large metropolitan cities (Steele et al., 2018).

DL programs offer instruction of the core curriculum in two languages with both language-minoritized and English-speaking students learning in the same classroom (Thomas & Collier, 2003). The ratio of the number of language-minoritized students to [End Page 263] English speaking students in one classroom should be close to 1:1 so as to avoid the dominance of any language, with the non-English language being used to teach at least half of the subject areas (Lindholm-Leary, 2001). For example, elementary DL students can have the chance to learn Language Arts and Science in English during half of the school day and Social Studies and Mathematics in another language during the rest of the day. DL programs can start from as early as prekindergarten, and run through elementary and secondary schools (Kim, Hutchison, & Winsler, 2013). Since its establishment, researchers and educators have considered DL education as a very promising model that serves the needs of both language majority and minoritized students (Lindholm-Leary, 2012; Thomas & Collier, 2002).

Empirical studies have shown that DL programs help both language-minoritized and language majority students gain language proficiency in two languages in the long-term (Alanís, 2000; García & Kleifgen, 2010). For elementary schools particularly, DL programs might be optimal for producing long-term success for the language-minoritized students (Thomas & Collier, 2002), and may enhance reading and math skills for both minority- and majority-language speaking students (Marian et al., 2013). Often considered one of the most innovative and effective programs of education, DL education benefits all students' long-term academic achievement regardless of their first languages and supports language-minoritized students in maintaining their heritage language. The maintenance of heritage language is important for language-minoritized students, as research has shown that the loss of heritage language may lead to the loss of cultural identities, family connections, and sense of worth, which harms a student's psychological wellbeing and academic achievement (Fillmore, 2000; Tse, 2000).

However, DL programs are increasingly challenged with regard to whether they meet their goals for serving language-minoritized students. For example, studies (e.g., Freire, Valdez, & Delavan, 2017; Kelly, 2018; Palmer, 2009) have revealed that DL programs often center the interests of the White students and parents while silencing the voices and interests of the language-minoritized communities...


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