Read below to understand the arguments on each side.
False Claim: The Mandarin Program will take away funds to address the Achievement Gap.
Our Response: To be sure, the Achievement Gap is a major problem, especially within the CHCCS district. However, there are two major flaws with the original argument. (Read the Excellence with Equity report from October 2015 for specifics about the CHCCS Achievement Gap.)
The expanded MDL program was estimated to save the district money in both the best and worst-case scenarios. The school administration’s estimated budget for the MDL program calculated that the proposed expansion would require additional funds in Year 1 and 2. This includes funds for classroom setup, library funds, curriculum development, etc. However, starting in Year 3, the district beings saving money annually in both the best- and worst-case as a result of fewer teachers due to an exclusion in dual-language class size mandates. In the best-case scenario, the initial expenditures are made up by year 4 with $229,000 in cost savings. By year 6, estimated savings are $797,000. In the worst-case scenario, the program would still have a negative debt of $343,000 by Year 6 but would begin saving the district $130,000 annually, requiring three additional years to payback the original investment. In any event, the expanded program would have saved the district money.
See below for the district’s budget estimation.
Funds that are under discussion for the MDL program are not earmarked for the Achievement Gap whether or not the MDL expansion passes; further, no specific alternative uses for the funds have even been proposed. More importantly, it has been documented repeatedly that the best tool for bridging the Achievement Gap is dual-language immersion. While the local NAACP has spoken out against the MDL expansion due to cost arguments (see point #1), the National NAACP has an explicit Resolution to “promote the integration of multilingual curriculum into public schools.” It is our opinion that the local NAACP stance against the MDL program further discourages families from taking advantage of these opportunities and thus effectively eliminates one of the only known tools to address the Achievement Gap. We have reached out to National NAACP to better understand this discrepancy and to discuss how the program can be modified to better accomplish this goal.
Dual-language immersion programs have been extensively studied: they provide learning gains for all students, but students who are African-American or of lower socio-economic or special education status demonstrate the greatest growth relative to non-language immersion peers*. Thus, dual language immersion is a proven tool to reduce the achievement gap. It is also important to note that the current MDL program serves a significant number of children who are Tier 3, have ADHD, have an Individual Education Program, or have a 504 Plan.
To see more continue to our Achievement Gap page.
False Claim: The MDL program is elitist and for the privileged few.
Our Response: The program is open to all children from across the district in Kindergarten and First Grades, regardless of race, ethnicity, neighborhood, socio-economic status, or native language. Any interested parents can enter their child in the lottery and expanding the program will allow for more children to participate. The MDL program is currently as economically diverse as the rest of the district, and students who are admitted show the same aptitude as other district students. Because magnets are by definition open to all eligible students, this provides a more even playing field compared to neighborhood districting, in which wealth determines where a family can live or purchase a house.
In order to make this program more accessible, transportation is provided to all students across the district, which is a well described tool to increase equity within a district. In fact, the “worst-case” budget scenario for the MDL program expansion is in part due to the uncertainty needed to add one additional bus and driver instead of two.
False Claim: The vote on the implementation of the full magnet plan has been rushed.
Our Response: The possibility of a magnet plan has been discussed as early as 2013, and most recently in early 2018*. There are now 40 Kindergarten students on the wait-list that would like to join the Mandarin program next year. More delay would result in more confusion for families. In addition, this issue has been a major distraction for affected teachers, families, and students. The continued uncertainty and divisions need to end after years of debate.
False Claim: Those critical of the MDL program claim that their stance isn’t due to racism and/or xenophobia.
Our Response: Decide for yourself. See below for a clip from a recent CHCCS Board Meetings: