Effectively Serving Children in a Superdiverse Classroom: Implications for the Early Education System
Maki Park, Senior Policy Analyst, MPI
KaYing Yang, Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Coalition of Asian American Leaders
Jie Zong, Associate Policy Analyst, MPI
Margie McHugh, Director, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, MPI
As the number and share of Dual Language Learners (DLLs) continues to grow across the United States, diversity within this population is also increasing. Although Spanish remains the most commonly spoken language among DLL families in most states, other minority languages have substantial representation in many school districts, cities, and counties. DLLs also span a wide range of races and ethnicities, countries of origin, levels of education, and migration histories. This “superdiversity” has important implications for early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs, schools, and other systems that face the challenge of building the capacity to effectively serve children with unique learning strengths and needs. And while a strong research base has proven the benefits of bilingual education models in supporting DLLs’ academic development, much less is known about effective strategies to serve these children in classrooms where multiple languages and cultures are represented, and no single non-English language is dominant.
This webinar marks the release of a Migration Policy Institute report that provides an analysis of the diversity within the DLL population nationwide and at the state and local levels. The report also offers a closer look at three rapidly growing subgroups within the DLL population: Black and Asian American and Pacific Islander DLLs and young children of refugees. This is the first in a series of three reports that will explore the implications of superdiverse contexts for ECEC programs and systems.
On the webinar, authors of the report provide an overview of its findings and policy implications. This was followed by reflections from KaYing Yang, Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Coalition of Asian American Leaders in Minnesota, who discussed on-the-ground challenges and responses related to early learning service provision in superdiverse settings. Ms. Yang has built and led community development efforts nationally and globally for more than two decades, and previously served as Executive Director for the only national Southeast Asian American advocacy organization in the United States.