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CSUF Leads K-12 Asian Language Education Consortium

$5 Million State-Funded Effort Prepares Educators to Teach in Asian Languages
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To address the statewide shortage of K-12 educators to teach in Asian languages, Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education is leading the California State University Asian Language Bilingual Teacher Education Program Consortium.

Funded by the California Legislature, the goal of the $5 million effort is to increase the number of credentialed teachers with Asian bilingual authorization to teach Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Hmong, Tagalog and Khmer (Cambodian).

“The consortium represents a collective effort to support and expand Asian language bilingual teacher education programs not only in the CSU but statewide,” said consortium program director Natalie Tran, professor of educational leadership and secondary education in CSUF’s College of Education.

“This funding benefits CSU bilingual authorization teacher candidates, faculty and school districts across the state. The consortium plays a critical role in addressing the growing demands for Asian dual-language immersion programs and teacher shortages in Orange County and California as a whole.”

With a bilingual authorization, teachers can provide instruction in both English and another language, such as Korean or Vietnamese. 

“There is a great need for bilingual teachers who can communicate with students and parents in their native language,” said Fernando Rodriguez-Valls, professor of secondary education, the coordinator of CSUF’s bilingual authorization program. 

CSUF is distributing funds to the other seven CSU campuses in the consortium for the five-year program, Tran said. Participating CSU campuses are Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State LA, Cal Poly Pomona, San Diego State, San Jose State and Stanislaus State. 

Tran anticipates that more CSU campuses will join the consortium throughout the grant cycle. Funds will be used for scholarships, student outreach and recruitment, and to support consortium faculty and administrative operations.

Current and future teachers enrolled at CSU campuses will benefit from the consortium program through scholarships. 

Teacher candidates interested in earning a teaching credential and bilingual authorization in Asian languages are eligible for a $20,000 scholarship. Current teachers can receive either a $2,200 scholarship or enroll in the required courses for free, Tran said. 

Through the consortium, enrolled students can take classes at other campuses to complete their bilingual authorization, Tran said.

Currently, CSUF’s College of Education offers Asian language bilingual authorization courses only in Vietnamese, Korean and Khmer. 

In CSUF’s bilingual authorization program, about 20 students complete the Asian language authorization each year, Tran said. 

“We expect this number to grow with an increasing number of school districts offering Asian language dual-language immersion programs in the region and across the state,” she added.

In Orange County, for example, Westminster School District, Garden Grove Unified School District and Anaheim Union High School District all offer Vietnamese dual-language programs. 

Anaheim Elementary School District and Fullerton School District offer programs in Korean. 

Mandarin dual-language programs are offered in Orange Unified School District, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, Capistrano Unified School District, and soon, in Anaheim Elementary School District, Tran said.

CSUF’s National Resource Center for Asian Languages, directed by Tran, in collaboration with California Department of Education funded projects, such as EL RISE!, also provides professional development for Asian language teachers. 

Debra Cano Ramos