In 2008, with the passage of Senate Bill 41, the state of Utah made a firm commitment to educating its children in the public school system in two languages. Since then, Utah's Dual Language Immersion Program has grown to include five languages (Chinese, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish) in 138 schools reaching some 29,000 students in grades 1 through 8. The first cohort of immersion students is now enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and will take the Spanish AP exam at the end of ninth grade.
Utah State Sen. Steve Urquhart endorsed Utah's Dual Language Immersion Programs in 2013, describing it as "What's Right With Utah Ed." He got it right. A number of states, including Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Montana and Wyoming, have replicated Utah's 50-50 two-teacher model for grades 1-6: Half of the school day, students receive instruction from their English teacher, and the other half they are taught by the target language teacher.
Does this work? Can students learn math in Spanish or German or Chinese? Unequivocally, the answer is yes: Students in Utah's dual immersion programs perform as well or better than their non-immersion peers in core subjects such as language arts and math. And they are acquiring another language, key to global citizenship and to success in a global job market.