Governor signs bill expanding dual language immersion programs

SACRAMENTO – AB 2514, authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), supports the creation and expansion of dual language immersion programs in schools. The bill passed out of both legislative houses with bipartisan support and was signed by the Governor yesterday.

“22 percent of our public school students are English learners,” Thurmond said. “Our school districts need more resources to support these students. This bill gives schools the tools to develop programming proven to improve student learning and student success.”

There are over 1.3 million English learners (EL) in California. These students often face language barriers, requiring services tailored to their needs. EL students benefit from dual language instruction that helps them learn in both English and their native language. Pupils that are enrolled in dual language programs perform better academically, gain more confidence, and possess greater cultural awareness.

“California leads the nation in honoring our students for their proficiency in English and another language with the State Seal of Biliteracy,” said, Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, Executive Director of Californians Together. “With the passage of AB 2514 (Thurmond) we will again lead in supporting new and expanding multilingual programs preschool through 12th grade. The linguistic and academic achievements of California’s students contribute to the future of communities across our state.” 

AB 2514 establishes the Pathways to Success Incentive Program to be administered by the California Department of Education. The three-year program will annually award grants of up to $300,000 to school districts and county offices of education to assist in establishing or expanding dual language immersion programs, developmental programs for ELs, or establishing early learning dual language learner programs.

In support, State Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson said, “Numerous studies show that fluency in another language boosts students’ mental flexibility and enhances their ability to learn all subjects. This legislation will give more students the opportunity to become fluent in a world language by making it easier for districts to launch Dual Language Immersion programs, allowing students to start learning a world language in kindergarten. I thank the governor for signing the bill and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond for writing this important legislation.”

The California Association for Bilingual Education and Californians Together were the co-sponsors of this bill. The California School Boards Association, California Language Teachers Association, and the AVID Center were in support of this bill.

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.

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