Print this Article

CDE Launches Initiative to Expand Teaching World Languages

June 14, 2018

On May 30, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced, “Global California 2030,” a bold initiative to vastly expand the teaching and learning of world languages and the number of students proficient in more than one language over the next 12 years.

The initiative aims to better prepare California students for the 21st century economy, broaden their perspective and understanding of the world, and strengthen the diversity of backgrounds and languages that make California’s culture and economy vibrant and dynamic.

“The mission of Global California 2030 is to equip our students with the world language skills to succeed in the global economy and to fully engage with the diverse mixture of cultures and languages found in California and throughout the world,” Torlakson said. “We are setting high goals and dreaming big to help our students and our state.”

Studies show that the study of language improves speakers’ ability in their first language and in other subjects, builds self-confidence, and even delays the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Global California 2030 has several goals:

  1. By 2030, half of all K-12 students participate in programs leading to proficiency in two or more languages, either through a class, a program, or an experience.
  2. The number of students who receive the State Seal of Biliteracy, which is nationally recognized for college admissions and career opportunities, more than triples from 46,952 in 2017 to more than 150,000 in 2030. By 2040, three out of four graduating seniors earn the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal is earned by demonstrating proficiency in a language in addition to English.
  3. The number of dual immersion programs that teach languages besides English quadruples from about 400 in 2017 to 1,600 in 2030.
  4. The number of new bilingual teachers authorized in world language classes more than doubles from 2017 to 2030.

Torlakson kicked off the Global California 2030 initiative at Cahuenga Elementary School in Los Angeles, which has a dual Korean/English immersion program and three separate programs to help English learners, especially students with Spanish as their first language.

The initiative builds on views voters expressed clearly in 2016. By voting overwhelmingly to approve Proposition 58, a ballot measure to eliminate barriers to dual language immersion programs, voters sent a clear message they want more immersion programs and the expanded teaching of languages.

Global California 2030 enhances the diversity that is already California’s strength. California residents speak the majority of languages heard on the planet, and its 6.2 million public school students speak more than 72 languages ranging from Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese to less frequently heard languages such as Mixteco, Pashto, and Tongan.

About one in five or 1.3 million students are English learners. An estimated 1.2 million additional students are proficient in English yet also have another language in their background. This means that over 40 percent of California’s K-12 students already come to school with knowledge and experience in at least two languages.

“As the world comes closer together, fluency in another language opens up opportunities for people to succeed economically and to take part in diverse cultural activities,” Torlakson said.

Torlakson called on educators, parents, legislators, community members, and business leaders to help create a multilingual California. Widespread support will be needed to expand access to world language classes, programs, and experiences; train more bilingual teachers; and improve the quality and availability of advanced language classes.

“Our ambitions for Global California 2030 are high, but so is our ability to work together with our partners toward common goals,” he said. “Together, we have the skills, creativity, and vision to give all students the opportunity to learn another language.”

For more information, please see the Global California 2030 report ¬†and the CDE’s Global California 2030 Web page.

Source: California Department of Education



A Total School Solutions publication.