Criticism of the American education system is targeted towards a variety of issues, but a commonly-mentioned critique is that American schools are not teaching foreign languages early or often enough.
In order to increase its efforts at helping students become bilingual in both English and Spanish, The Tucson Unified School District plans to introduce a new immersion program featuring Spanish-language instruction at 10 schools. The district already had a 50-50 bilingual education program, but up to 90% of kindergarten instruction will now be taught in Spanish.
Participating elementary schools include Davis, Grijalva, Hollinger, McCorkle, Mission View, Roskruge, Van Buskirk and White. Middle schools Pistor and Roskruge and Pueblo Magnet High School will also participate in the program, according to AZ Star Net. Participation is optional for students at all schools except Davis Bilingual Magnet.
The program calls for a specific method of gradually increasing English-language instruction as the grades progress, eventually reaching a 50-50 bilingual method of instruction for grades four through 12.
According to Steve Holmes, TUSD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, the new program seeks to improve the district’s already existing bilingual education program by establishing a system from a centralized office.
“Every school has been managing their own model — doing what best serves the limited resources they have and what they thought they could pull together, but it wasn’t actively managed by the central office,” said Holmes.
According to Area Vibes, 67% of Tuscon residents speak English while 28% speak Spanish. TUSD is the largest school district in the area.