- Clemence Darriet
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Two-way dual language immersion programs (TWDL) aim to integrate English speakers and speakers of a partner language in the same classroom to receive content instruction in both languages. Stated goals include bilingualism and biliteracy, high academic achievement, and sociocultural competence. In school districts aiming to reduce segregation, TWDL programs can also integrate students from diverse linguistic, racial, and economic backgrounds, though mounting evidence shows equitable integration does not always happen. Using school-level enrollments and district data on TWDL program growth from 2000 to 2021, this paper describes enrollment and segregation patterns across Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) elementary schools with TWDL. We find elementary schools with TWDL programs are enrolling increasing numbers of racially, linguistically, and economically marginalized students, but the increasingly uneven sorting of students among TWDL schools demonstrates limits on the potential for intergroup contact.
Purpose. Bilingual programs in the United States, particularly two-way dual language immersion (TWDL) programs, have been implemented since the 1960s to support the education of English Learner-classified (EL-classified) and language minoritized students. Over the past decade, TWDL programs have grown significantly across the United States. This study examines TWDL program growth in Los Angeles Unified School District, exploring the relationships between program expansion and neighborhood change, enrollment declines, and school choice. These factors have been linked to decreased access to these programs for language minoritized students. Research Methods/Approach. We descriptively examine the neighborhood characteristics of TWDL schools over a 22-year period using publicly available school, census, and housing data, and investigate the relationship between these factors and TWDL emergence. Findings. We find that of the three factors we explored, enrollment change (specifically declining enrollment) and the existence of nearby charter schools are two factors most likely to be associated with TWDL program emergence. We find little evidence that TWDL are primarily emerging in gentrifying contexts. Implications. This study helps us understand general, decade-long trends of TWDL program expansion and dispersion in a district undergoing many of the phenomena described in the literature on this topic.