Bilingual education is supposed to be expanding to more languages – such as Vietnamese and Arabic – but many school districts can’t find the teachers to handle the two-language classes.
“The teacher shortage that was there for Spanish now translates to other languages,” said Shannon Terry, Garland ISD’s director of English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual education.
Area districts are recruiting for next school year, searching for tough-to-staff areas such as math and science. But bilingual teachers are also in high demand.
The state requires any school district that has at least 20 students in a grade level who speak a language other than English to provide a bilingual program in that language.
In 2007, the State Board for Educator Certification expanded the bilingual program to include Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. But that doesn’t mean more diverse teachers are lining up for jobs.
“It’s not common knowledge,” said Terry. “The universities aren’t designing programs necessarily yet to support teachers in securing those credentials.”