CTA President Eric Heins joined California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, bilingual educators, Los Angeles Unified School District officials and Cahuenga Elementary School students for the launch of Torlakson’s “Global California 2030.” The initiative would encourage proficiency in at least two languages for all California students and triple the number of bilingual high school graduates over the next 12 years. It adds to that that goal with a target of 75 percent of students achieving a State Seal of Biliteracy by the year 2040.
Torlakson begins this ambitious program in the final months of his term as SPI, but told the audience of educators and students that steps are being taken to ensure that the initiative continues beyond. “The mission of this initiative is to equip our students with the world language skills to succeed in the global economy and to fully engage with the diverse mixture of cultures and languages found in California and throughout the world,” he said. “We are setting high goals and dreaming big to help our students and our state.”
Heins, who was born in the Netherlands and raised in a bilingual household, praised Global California 2030 as another step toward reversing the mean-spirited and xenophobic Proposition 227, which was passed two decades ago and effectively ended bilingual education in California. Two years ago voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 58, which put Californians back on track for multilingual literacy and the ability to better live and work in both a diverse state and in a global economy. Heins added, “Not only does learning a second language open economic and social doors, but it’s also just good for you. It strengthens our brains and mental acuity, builds confidence, and it’s just plain fun.”
The launch took place at Cahuenga Elementary, which has had a dual-immersion English/Korean program for the past 26 years.