Document Type

Policy Document

Publication Date

Fall 2011


Dual language programs can reverse the school segregation that results from tracking students by language ability. Such programs have been effective in positively influencing Latino students’ educational achievement. This research report draws attention to the quest of school leaders and parents to achieve successful academic results for immigrant students. In contrast to prevalent schooling practices in the United States, dual language programs are supportive in teaching children a new language. The purpose of these programs is to strengthen academic achievement and language competencies for all students, while promoting the maintenance of students’ native language and culture. Through interviews with a variety of stakeholders and classroom observations, this study explores seven dual language programs in Manhattan that operate independently from one another. It shows how these programs, in response to changing urban communities, are reshaping their original designs as they serve newcomers. The dual language programs continue to evolve in four ways identified through the research: flexibility, innovation, community involvement, and cultural enrichment. Within the schools, dual language programs represent academic innovation since they must necessarily engage in continuous renewal and improvement in order to serve the needs of their changing communities. The investigation found that the empowerment networks of community actors that take part in education decision making—which include parents, community education councils, and the schools’ leadership—have led a process of academic innovation as they have reshaped and improved the schools’ design to serve their students.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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