Last week’s news that the Carpinteria school board has postponed its decision to fund a dual-enrollment Spanish-immersion program is disappointing. For those who don’t know, the program would start at Canalino School in fall 2016 and provide intensive Spanish-language education to public school students. The board apparently based its decision on the $50,000 price tag of implementing the program.
Is this really about the cost? Okay, $50,000 is not nothing. But that money would be a down payment on our children’s future in California, a place where Spanish-language proficiency will be the key that unlocks doors to jobs, education, and greater cultural understanding. The value of that? Priceless. After all, who doesn’t wish they’d picked up Spanish fluency when it still felt as natural as learning to ride a bike or doing multiplication tables?
As well, an October 2015 New York Times article states that dual-language programs can help combat “school segregation.” As Acting Education Secretary John B. King states in the article, dual enrollment programs can be “a vehicle to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity in schools.” This is a win-win for a stratified public school district whose student body no longer reflects the economic and racial diversity of Carpinteria. Dual enrollment is the carrot this town needs to lure a diverse mix of families back into public schools to learn together.
But is it worth $50,000? Carpinteria can’t afford to say no.