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A closer look at the Illinois State Board of Education's proposed bilingual program regulations

Expanding the existing K-12 law for bilingual education to include pre-K will undoubtedly have numerous effects on Chicago’s preschool programs. There are three significant new requirements being proposed by the Illinois State Board of Education that will impact programs in Chicago.

  1. Incoming 3 and 4 year old students would have to be screened in order to determine who has limited English skills.
  2. If over 20 students with limited English proficiency speak the same language at home, the preschool must offer transitional bilingual education whereby students are taught in English and their home language. These students will then gradually transition into standard, English-only instruction. Preschools that have students with limited English proficiency but do not have 20 students speaking the same home language must provide English-as-a-second-language instruction.
  3. Teachers who teach bilingual or English-as-a-second-language classrooms need to obtain bilingual and/or ESOL certificates.