Cons: No, it's expensive, would need extra support from parents

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Aug. 24, 2014 at 6 p.m.

While she knows there are advantages to dual-language immersion programs, Delores Warnell, the Bloomington school district superintendent, said a strong level of commitment from parents is required for the program to succeed.

"It takes a dedicated commitment from the parents to stay until a second language is acquired," Warnell said. "It will not be effective if they chose full immersion one year and then opt out the next year."

In the Victoria school district, parents of English Language Learner students have the option to opt out of sending their child to one of the two campuses that offers full bilingual services, said Robert Jaklich, the district's superintendent.

However, opting out can often result in a learning deficiency, Jaklich said.

Statewide, there were 49,308 parent denials in 2008, according to the Texas Education Agency website.

Another concern with the implementation of a dual-language immersion program is cost. "It is expensive," Jaklich said.

With dual-language immersion programs, smaller class sizes are optimal, Warnell said.

"It can increase a district's payroll budget," Warnell said. "In Bloomington, I don't know what the actual cost will be, but it would require us to employ an additional teacher at each grade level at the elementary level."

Sue Thompson, a Seadrift resident who recently wrote a letter to the editor decrying the funding of welfare to undocumented immigrants, said the dual-language immersion program is a good idea but should be optional to parents.

"This is the United States, not Mexico," Thompson said. "If the Spanish-speaking kids are going to be here, they need to learn English."

Thompson expressed her frustrations with ineffective English programs for Spanish-speaking employees where she works and emphasized the importance of implementing an effective program in the schools.

"Who pays for it?" Thompson asked. "Unfortunately, it's the middle class that does."



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