A Dual Language Program in Every School?

Fabrice Jaumont (Photo by Jonas Cuénin via France-Amérique)

Fabrice Jaumont, education attaché of the French Embassy in New York, believes that dual language programs should be in every school in the U.S. by the middle of the century – an ambitious goal, but one that would offer critical benefits to children’s brain development and educational performance.

The bilingual publication France-Amérique spoke with Jaumont recently about his new book, “The Bilingual Revolution: The Future of Education is in Two Languages.”

Jaumont notes that the need cuts across different socioeconomic groups, but that some parents in particular push for dual language programs:

The families asking for dual-language classes are often educated and relatively well off. I don’t see families with more modest incomes taking the initiative to create a dual-language program. Rent, food shopping, and clothing for their children are more important than linguistic or cultural worries. Most of the 120,000 Francophones living in New York are in the Bronx, not in Manhattan. They often work two or three jobs, they don’t always have official papers, and they speak French at home or at church. It is hard for these parents to approach local schools and convince the principal to launch a dual-language program. It is therefore the responsibility of local authorities to listen to the needs of these families and offer solutions.

Coincidentally, French President Emmanuel Macron will propose a new fund dedicated to French-English bilingual programs in schools in the U.S. when he comes to New York  for the U.N. General Assembly meetings, French Morning reports.

For more on Jaumont’s book and his arguments supporting the adoption of dual language programs, go to France-Amérique.

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