DL Support from African American Community

Parents and educational leaders in the African American community have recognized the value of dual language education.

Parent of a kindergarten student enrolled in the Mandarin Dual Language program at Martin Luther King Jr. elementary school in Portland, Oregon.

Parent of first grade student in the Mandarin Dual Language program at Martin Luther King Jr. elementary school in Portland, Oregon.

Ronnie Herndon, Director of Albina Head Start and Early Head Start in Portland, Oregon.

Parent of Mandarin Dual Language student enrolled at District of Columbia International School: “His ability to learn in two languages, particularly when his parents are not fluent in a second language, this definitely contributed to his above grade level status in both reading and math.”

Michelle Obama gave a speech at Howard University urging students to take advantage of study-abroad programs as part of President Obama’s “100,000 Strong” initiative, which sought to increase and diversify the number of U.S. students studying in China.

More Information:

  • In 2016, the National NAACP passed and affirmed a formal resolution to promote the integration of multilingual curricula into public schools, with the recommendation that curriculum not be limited to Eurocentric languages.
  • However, in direct contrast to the national NAACP’s statement of support, the Chapel Hill NAACP has been outspoken in their opposition to the CHCSS Mandarin Dual Language (MDL) program.
  • The Chapel Hill NAACP’s Excellence with Equity Report found Collinswood Language Academy dual language program to be the third highest ranked in NC in terms of African American academic performance.
  • Active recruitment was the key to raising African American enrollment at the Starr King public Mandarin immersion program in San Francisco. Durell’s story.
  • Dr. Lawton Gray wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on factors that influence African American parents to enroll their children in Mandarin Dual Language programs. Evidence that Dual Language immersion increases academic performance for all students, and especially African American students, was so strong that Dr. Gray started from this assumption with the goal of providing guidance on how to extend this opportunity to more African American children.
  • Being Black and Bilingual, from the Mandarin Immersion Parents Council.
  • Raising Black and Bilingual Youth, from Parents of African American Children studying Chinese.
  • Why Black People are Learning Chinese, from The Root.
  • In 2007, Roscoe Overton founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting bilingual education for all with special emphasis in serving the African American community.
  • Rachel Powell-Young, a sophomore at D.C. International School, has fused her leadership skills and knowledge of Chinese to start a school club that focuses on warmer U.S.–China relations.

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