SHB 1445

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Passed Legislature

Title: An act relating to dual language in early learning and K-12 education.

Brief Description: Concerning dual language in early learning and K-12 education.

Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Ortiz-Self, Stambaugh, Santos, Orwall, Harris, Caldier, Springer, Appleton, Lytton, Condotta, Fey, Pollet, Goodman, Slatter, Bergquist, Macri, Doglio and Kagi).

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Education: 1/31/17, 2/9/17 [DP];

Appropriations: 2/24/17 [DPS].

Floor Activity:

Passed House: 3/1/17, 64-34.

Senate Amended.

Passed Senate: 4/12/17, 45-4.

House Concurred.

Passed House: 4/18/17, 68-28.

Passed Legislature.

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to develop and administer the K-12 dual language (DL) grant program to grow capacity for DL programs in the common schools and in state-tribal compact schools.

  • Specifies that the OSPI must facilitate DL learning cohorts for, and provide technical assistance and support to, school districts and state-tribal compact schools establishing or expanding DL programs.

  • Directs the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to administer and oversee the bilingual educator initiative to recruit, mentor, prepare, and financial support bilingual high school students to become future bilingual teachers and counselors.

  • Requires the OSPI and the PESB to submit, by December 1, 2019, a combined report to the Legislature that details the successes, best practices, lessons learned, and outcomes of the grant programs.

  • Requires the Department of Early Learning to work with community partners to support outreach and education for parents and families around the benefits of native language development and retention, as well as the benefits of DL learning, create culturally responsive resources on DL learning, and support DL learning communities for teachers and coaches.


Majority Report: Do pass. Signed by 16 members: Representatives Santos, Chair; Dolan, Vice Chair; Stonier, Vice Chair; Harris, Ranking Minority Member; Muri, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Bergquist, Caldier, Johnson, Kilduff, Lovick, Ortiz-Self, Senn, Slatter, Springer, Steele and Stokesbary.

Minority Report: Without recommendation. Signed by 2 members: Representatives McCaslin and Volz.

Minority Report: Do not pass. Signed by 1 member: Representative Hargrove.

Staff: Megan Wargacki (786-7194).


Majority Report: The substitute bill be substituted therefor and the substitute bill do pass. Signed by 23 members: Representatives Ormsby, Chair; Robinson, Vice Chair; Stokesbary, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Bergquist, Caldier, Cody, Condotta, Fitzgibbon, Hansen, Harris, Hudgins, Jinkins, Kagi, Lytton, Pettigrew, Pollet, Sawyer, Senn, Springer, Stanford, Sullivan, Tharinger and Wilcox.

Minority Report: Do not pass. Signed by 10 members: Representatives Chandler, Ranking Minority Member; MacEwen, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Buys, Haler, Manweller, Nealey, Schmick, Taylor, Vick and Volz.

Staff: Jessica Harrell (786-7349).


Public Schools. The common schools are the kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) schools maintained at public expense in each school district. Public schools include the common schools, charter schools, and other K-12 schools established by law and maintained at public expense, for example the state-tribal compact schools. There are currently four schools operated under a state-tribal education compact.

Dual Language Programs. A dual language (DL) program is an instructional model that provides content-based instruction to students in two languages, generally English and a target language other than English that is spoken in the local community, for example Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic, native languages, or indigenous languages. The goal of DL programs is usually for the students, over a number of years of participation in the program, to become proficient and literate in both languages, while also meeting high academic standards in all subject areas. Typically, the programs begin at kindergarten or first grade and continue through elementary school, and, if possible, into middle school or high school.

A number of DL programs currently exist in school districts throughout Washington, including: Bellevue, Evergreen, Highline, Kennewick, Mount Vernon, North Shore, Pasco, Seattle, Vancouver, Wenatchee, and Yakima. These programs offer instruction in Spanish, Japanese, or Mandarin Chinese.

In 2015 the biennial operating budget provided the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) with funds to implement a K-12 DL expansion grant program for the purpose of building and expanding well-implemented, sustainable DL programs. Two-year grants were awarded to five school districts. The Bethel, Selah, and Mabton school districts were awarded $50,000 each per year for two years to develop and expand their newly implemented DL programs with the guidance of the mentor districts. The Wenatchee school district was awarded $30,000 per year for two years to mentor the Selah and Mabton school districts. And the Bellevue school district was awarded $20,000 per year for two years to mentor the Bethel school district.

Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program. The state preschool program is called the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). The stated goal of the ECEAP is to help ensure children enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Children are eligible for ECEAP if they are from families with annual incomes at or below 110 percent of the federal poverty level—$26,730 for a family of four, qualify for school district special education services, or have developmental or environmental risk factors that could affect school success. Although the ECEAP prioritizes children who are 4 years old, children who are 3 years old are also eligible for the program.

Approved ECEAPs receive state-funded support through the Department of Early Learning (DEL). Public or private organizations, including school districts, community and technical colleges, local governments, and nonprofit organizations may contract with the DEL to become an ECEAP provider.

Dual Language Teachers. The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB), a 13-member board, establishes the policies and requirements for the preparation and certification of educators, including approval of endorsements. An endorsement is the subject area in which a certified educator is authorized to teach, along with designated grade levels for that area. There are approximately 40 endorsements in Washington, not including a large number of career and technical education endorsements. In addition to subjects such as math, science, English, and history, there are approved endorsements in bilingual education and English learners (EL), both for all grade levels. In the 2014-15 school year, the PESB-approved teacher preparation programs had four new teachers complete the bilingual education endorsement and 186 complete the EL endorsement

Summary of Substitute Bill:

K-12 Dual Language Grant Program. The K-12 DL grant program is created to grow capacity for high quality DL programs in the common schools and in state-tribal compact schools. The OSPI must develop and administer the program.

For the purpose of the program, two-way DL programs begin with a balanced number of native and nonnative speakers of the target language so that both groups of students serve in the role of language modeler and language learner at different times, and one-way DL programs serve only nonnative English speakers.

By October 1, 2017, subject to funding by the Legislature, the OSPI must award two-year grants of up to $200,000 each through a competitive grant process to school districts or state-tribal compact schools proposing to: establish or expanding a two-way DL program; or expand a one-way DL program in a school with predominantly EL students. The OSPI must provide a bonus of up to $20,000 to applicants proposing to establish a DL program in a target language other than Spanish. The grant money must be used for DL program start-up and expansion costs, for example staff training, teacher recruitment, and development and implementation of DL curriculum, but not for ongoing program costs.

The OSPI must identify criteria for awarding the grants, evaluate applicants, and award grant money. Minimum application requirements are specified, including a description of how the program will serve the applicant's EL population, the applicant's plan for student enrollment and outreach to families who speak the target language, and the applicant's commitment to, and plan for, sustaining a DL program beyond the grant period. The OSPI must notify school districts and state-tribal compact schools of the K-12 grant program and provide ample time for the application process.

The OSPI must, within existing resources, facilitate DL learning cohorts for school districts and state-tribal compact schools establishing or expanding DL program. The OSPI must also provide technical assistance and support.

Bilingual Educator Initiative. Beginning in the 2017-2019 biennium, the PESB must administer the bilingual educator initiative, which is a long-term program to recruit, prepare, and mentor bilingual high school students to become future bilingual teachers and counselors.

Subject to funding by the Legislature, pilot projects must be implemented in one or two school districts on each side of the crest of the Cascade mountains, where immigrant students are shown to be rapidly increasing. Districts selected by the PESB must partner with at least one two-year and one four-year college in planning and implementing the program. The PESB must provide oversight.

Participating school districts must implement programs that include the following components:

There must be a pipeline to college using two-year and four-year college faculty and consisting of continuation services for program participants, such as advising, tutoring, mentoring, financial assistance, and leadership. High school and college teachers and counselors must be recruited and compensated to serve as mentors and trainers for participating students.

In 2017 funds must be appropriated for the purposes described above.

After obtaining a high school diploma, students qualify to receive conditional loans to cover the full cost of college tuition, fees, and books. To qualify for funds, students must meet program requirements as developed by their local implementation team, which consists of staff from their school district and the partnering two-year and four-year college faculty.

In order to avoid loan repayment, students must:

Students who do not meet these repayment terms must repay all or part of the financial aid they receive for college unless students are recipients of funding provided through programs such as the state need grant program or the college bound scholarship program.

Report to the Legislature. By December 1, 2019, subject to funding by the Legislature, the OSPI and the PESB must submit a combined report to the Legislature that details the successes, best practices, lessons learned and outcomes of the grant programs described above. The grantees must work with the agencies to draft this report. The report must also describe how the K-12 education system has met the goals of each grant program and expanded their capacities to support DL models of instruction because of the act.

Dual Language in Early Learning. The DEL must work with community partners to support outreach and education for parents and families around the benefits of native language development and retention, as well as the benefits of DL learning. Native language means the language normally used by an individual or, in the case of a child or youth, the language normally used by the parents or family of the child or youth. Within existing resources, the DEL must create culturally responsive training and professional development resources on DL learning, such as supporting EL students, working in culturally and linguistically diverse communities, strategies for family engagement, and cultural responsiveness; and must support DL learning communities for teachers and coaches

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed. However, the bill is null and void unless funded in the budget.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Education):

(In support) The research shows that DL programs are the most effective, evidence-based strategy for improving outcomes and closing the opportunity gap for ELL students, while also benefiting monolingual English speakers.  Children in these programs enter the school system feeling their home language is an asset. Only 3 percent of current ELL instruction uses the DL model. This needs to expand if the state wants to increase student achievement by ELL students, a population that will be one in four by 2025.

This bill addresses DL beginning in early childhood and includes needed professional development, recruitment, and retention for teachers. This bill builds off the success of the 2015 grant program. These programs have many benefits for students, families, and the community. Many parents think that being proficient in a home language is important. This helps children appreciate their home language and family culture and to communicate with the rest of their family. Many parents think that it is important for their children to be fully bilingual. Although children can learn some of these skills at home, it is helpful for the schools to support them, as well. This bill will afford scholars additional opportunities to access learning in English and their home language.

Parents and administrators want to say yes to students bringing their identities to schools that embrace them. Diversity matters so much that it should be embedded in the very structure of schools. Some principals think that DL programs increase graduation rates.  Bilingually schooled students outperform comparably schooled monolingual students in academic achievement in all subjects after four to seven years of bilingual education. These programs also allow students to be leaders, who are not usually leaders.

Some people want children to become citizens of the world. Learning a language is more than just learning words, it is about learning cultures and lifestyles. Bilingual teachers want to be able to participate in DL programs. There are not enough programs available. Some districts lack funding to develop DL programs and infrastructure, and lack teachers to fill the DL instruction roles. The program involves all parents, but there is a wait list to get in. Families are moving to districts that have DL programs. 

There is a lot of work to do. The state needs high quality staff that represent the communities, because students need to see themselves in the staff. There needs to be more leadership and mentors to move forward. Districts need to create programs in other languages besides Spanish. The grants in this bill will increase the capacity to support new DL programs.

(Opposed) None.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Appropriations):

(In support) The only thing better than early learning is DL early learning.  The best way to improve achievement for English language learners is DL instruction.  This instruction is helpful for closing the achievement gap.  It will be good to put DL in ECEAP to improve the cultural diversity of the program.  Increasing the number of bilingual citizens is good for businesses because it allows businesses to reach into the global economy.

The DL pilot program in the 2015 Operating Budget was a success.  The English language learners in the DL programs benefited and so did the native English speakers, compared to similar students who were not in DL programs.  The academic benefit of DL programs on all students has been confirmed nationally.  This bill would build off the success of the pilot sites to increase infrastructure, provide technical assistance, and make sure that bilingual educators will be available to provide DL instruction.  Less than 4 percent of schools are currently providing DL learning.

The DL program model teaches students how to rely on their peers and use multiple perspectives to improve their work.  Although some people do not think that schools should allow students to speak languages other than English, DL instruction improves academic achievement and involves parents in the educational process.

(Opposed) None.

Persons Testifying (Education): Representative Ortiz-Self, prime sponsor; Teresa Garcia; Ralph Wisner, Thompson Elementary School; Dania Nuno and Roxana Norouzi, OneAmerica; Bernard Koontz, Highline School District; Martin Boonstra, Federal Way Public Schools; and Michael Shapiro, Washington Association for Bilingual Education.

Persons Testifying (Appropriations): Emily Murphy, Children's Alliance; Alex Hur, OneAmerica; and Ralph Wisner, Chester H. Thompson Elementary.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Education): Vickie Ybarra, Department of Early Learning; Alexandra Manuel, Professional Educator Standards Board; Jessica Vavrus, Washington State School Directors' Association; Doug Nelson, Public School Employees of Washington; and Gayle Pauley, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Appropriations): None.