The Intrusion of White Families Into Bilingual SchoolsDual Immersion public schools in gentrifying neighborhoods are basically a scam for keeping African Americans out.
Will the growing demand for multilingual early-childhood programs push out the students these programs were designed to serve?
CONOR WILLIAMS 7:00 AM ET EDUCATION
… In Washington, D.C., dual-immersion programs are attracting significant demand from English-dominant families. One of the city’s oldest immersion programs, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, has seen its surrounding neighborhood become so English-dominant (and white and wealthy) that the school is running short on native Spanish-speaking students. Neighborhood students get guaranteed slots at kindergarten, and these are now taken almost exclusively by English-speaking children, so the school has taken to overweighting its pre-k enrollment toward native Spanish speakers, reserving 30 of the 36 available pre-k seats for Spanish-dominant kids. Just 15 percent of the school’s students are classified as English learners. Not coincidentally, just 23 percent of students come from low-income families (across D.C. Public Schools, it’s 77 percent).
Black Americans hate Spanish and aren’t crazy about Spanish-speakers either. They associate Spanish speakers with coming to take jobs by working cheaper and harder. They associate speaking Spanish on the street with plotting against them.
In contrast, African American girls kind of like French due to long elite cultural ties between upwardly mobile African Americans and France. (E.g., Ta-Nehisi Coates and Thomas Chatterton Williams recently lived in Paris, not Madrid, or, God forbid, Mexico City.). But you seldom hear of plans for English-French dual immersion schools, because they would attract blacks and would employ white teachers rather than Hispanic teachers.
For gentrifying white parents, the real deal is Mandarin Dual Immersion, like the Broadway Elementary School in the artsy beach town of Venice, CA, which saw its test scores shoot up when it switched to Mandarin as a second language, attracting white and Chinese parents and repelling the deadwood, who took their low test scores somewhere else to become somebody else’s problem.