July 31, 2017
Conor P. Williams was quoted in Hechinger Report about how English-dominant families' interest in multilingual schools could be preventing Spanish-speaking students from getting access to these programs. The piece was syndicated in US News.
But even though the Houston Elementary program is celebrated for offering dual-language education to a group of students that has historically been shut out of the equation, research indicates they won't get as much value from the program as Spanish-speaking children from immigrant families would, or as any of the students at Oyster-Adams do.
At Houston Elementary, the only native Spanish speakers that students hear are their teachers. At Oyster-Adams, on the other hand, where administrators have always maintained a 50-50 split in the language backgrounds of students, children develop a social vocabulary in addition to an academic one by talking to their friends.
"It helps build a more robust use of the language," says Conor Williams, founding director of the Dual Language Learners National Work Group at New America.