May 21, 1999


Need For (Spanish-English) Bilingual Teachers to Increase

Proposition 227, approved by California voters in 1997, ended bilingual education "as we know it." However, the demand for bilingual teachers continues. San Diego State University is stepping up the efforts to supply the teachers needed to serve the needs of the rising number of students with limited English proficiency.

"Bilingual teachers are still in high demand," said Dr. Alberto Ochoa, chair of the Department of Policy Studies in Languages and Cross-Cultural Education at SDSU, explaining that an indicator of the great demand for bilingual teachers is how easy it is for them to find a job.

"This high majority of our students have a contract lined up even before they graduate," added Dr. Ochoa, explaining that over 95 percent of SDSU BCLAAD graduates are employed in San Diego area schools. Currently over 50 percent of bilingual teachers in San Diego County are SDSU graduates.

Last year, 70 teachers received their Bilingual Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development (BCLAAD) credential from SDSU, 50 are currently enrolled in the program and 60 will graduate Thursday, May 20. In addition, 60 more have been admitted to the program for the fall of 1999.

In California, the number of students whose primary language is not English reached 1.4 million in 1998. The figure is expected to increase to 2.3 million by the year 2008. About 75 percent of those are Latino students living in Southern California.

Locally, of the more than 460,000 students in San Diego County schools, over 100,000 have limited English skills, according the San Diego County Office of Education.

"In spite of politics, the number of students who need bilingual education continues to grow," stated Dr. Ochoa, adding that SDSU will continue increasing its effort to fulfill that need.

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