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“Class Dismissed” (1/10), by Stephanie Mencimer, makes numerous valid points about the state of D.C. public schools and what is needed to improve the system as a whole. There are many parents who would like to see a marked overall improvement in the schools, giving all of us far more excellent choices of quality schools than we currently have, in all areas of the city. In fact, we dare to imagine local schools as a national model, taking advantage of the diverse and international community in both the student population and the community at large.

One new group of parents, teachers, and community members has such a grand vision: Bilingual DC. Our goal is to make available to every child citywide the choice of fluency in a second language. We need to start by educating ourselves and all parents about the tremendous intellectual and career benefits of dual language fluency as well as the variety of tested models for bilingual education.

The plan will include creating new bilingual programs at the elementary level, whether using full immersion or another model. These should include additional Spanish programs, but also other languages. It will include a bilingual middle school. And it will, eventually, include a coherent stream of language fluency through all grade levels, which may feed well into curricula such as the international baccalaureate now offered at Banneker Senior High School, advanced-placement courses, and so on.

We can accomplish as much as all of us who care about our children in D.C. have energy to do! Join us to learn more and become involved in Bilingual DC; call (202) 986-8535, extension 7.

16th Street Heights