The Dual Language Learner Policy Platform: Informing California’s Early Learning and Care Policies and Investments in 2020–21 and Beyond
Written in partnership by Early Edge California and Advancement Project California
Lead Author: Marlene Zepeda, Ph.D.
Co-Authors: Carolyne Crolotte, JunHee Doh, Vickie Ramos Harris
California is home to the nation’s largest population of dual language learners (DLLs): 60% of children under age six come from homes where languages other than English are spoken. Yet an estimated 30–50% of DLL children entering kindergarten will not acquire the necessary English skills needed for academic participation after six years or more of instruction.
Governor Gavin Newsom has committed to supporting California’s youngest children and their families. As the state works to strengthen and expand its Early Learning and Care (ELC) system, it is critical that policymakers keep the strengths and needs of DLLs and children of color foremost in mind in order to design a system that serves the majority of California’s youngest learners.
Informed by DLL experts and stakeholders in the early childhood field, The Dual Language Learner Policy Platform guides decision-makers to build on the assets and recognize the needs of DLLs and their families when improving our state’s ELC system. The Platform’s recommendations align with the asset-based approach to DLLs in the California English Learner Roadmap and reflect its values and spirit. Recommendations identify both short-term and long-term goals.
“Every kid deserves a bright start that creates a path to lifelong success. Yet, for California’s dual language learners, we have a system that is failing to support their home language and culture, which speaks to a fundamental issue of equity that must be addressed. Our policy platform provides the guidance needed to create a truly equitable system that extends the benefits of Early Learning by intentionally building on the strengths of dual language learners and addressing their unique cultural, linguistic and developmental needs.”
– Patricia Lozano, Executive Director, Early Edge California