There’s no question that economies of the future will be strengthened by, and eventually depend on a broad, multilingual workforce and pool of innovators.
Simultaneously, today, many people are unable to access educational and other developmental opportunities because of their lack of command of English, and are left out of the field of potential contributors to an improved economy.
From various European explorers, to its formative roots as a colony, and through its tenure in statehood, Rhode Island has long been defined by a shifting, expanding and, now, more integrated blend of ethnic identifications.
Today, perhaps more than at any other recent point in the region’s history, language barriers are becoming more and more apparent, in areas such as standardized testing and hospitalization.
In a report from Friday’s The Boston Globe, Dan McGowan noted that the on time graduation rate for public school English Language Learners in Rhode Island dropped to 71.7 percent - from 77 percent in 2015 - and Rhode Island policy makers are plotting how to resolve the issue as part of a broad education rethink.
Perhaps central to this rethinking could be the World Language and Dual Language Immersion Act, which in sum, would implement a statewide dual language curriculum, working to improve outcomes for both English Language Learners as well as primary English speaking students.
On this episode, I’m joined by a roundtable of respected dual language educational policy advocates in Rhode Island for a detailed look at The Immersion Act, as well as the many challenges surrounding this issue. They are: Christopher Sanacore, Rhode Island College’s Erin Papa and The University of Rhode Island’s Rabia Hos, each part of The Rhode Island Road Map to Language Excellence