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Miami-Dade Schools Take Steps to Overhaul Spanish-Language Instruction

Miami-Dade schools officials are taking steps to overhaul their Spanish-language curriculum in response to parent and teacher concerns.

The district plans to launch a new graduate certificate program for teachers and undertake a $4 million curriculum overhaul after critics blasted a plan by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho that could have restricted access to foreign language instruction, Christine Veiga of the Miami Herald reports.

To address the district's struggle to find qualified instructors who have skills to teach multiple subjects in Spanish, administrators are pursuing a partnership with Florida International University that will help teachers build Spanish fluency and learn how to effectively teach a foreign language.

Most of the $4 million will go toward buying new textbooks that feature stories originally written in Spanish, instead of just English translations, Veiga reports.

The district also plans to appoint a task force to recommend a bilingual language program that will meet parents' expectations. That includes finding a way to balance access for everyone who wants to take Spanish-language courses.

Under Carvalho's proposed plan, students would not receive bilingual instruction unless they were in intensive language immersion programs with instruction in subjects such as math, science, and social studies split between English and another language.

Once fully implemented, the school system's "extended foreign language" program would have bolstered foreign language instruction by making it more intensive, but not available to all students.

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