By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Since 2003, there has been a 700% growth of dual language, bilingual and associated programs in the US Department of Education database. Only eleven states concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest do not offer programs.

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In New York City, 40 new and expanded programs will be in Spanish, but the initiative will also include instruction in Mandarin, French, Haitian Creole, Hebrew and Japanese depending on the school site. These programs are in response to criticism from civil rights groups for not meeting the needs of English learners.

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In dual language programs classroom instruction is delivered in two languages with the goal of bilingualism and biliteracy in both; however, currently there is a shortage of qualified teachers, parent outreach and failure to identify students.

The good news is that in public school, 16 elementary students enrolled in dual language programs outperformed their peers assigned to gifted and talented classes on state exams; optimism is growing.

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Read more in Education Week.