South Florida Schools Struggle To Find Enough Bilingual Teachers

Most of the students at Royal Palm Elementary in Miami have Spanish-speaking families. But those families also want their kids to speak – and read and write – more Spanish in school. So teacher Alexandra Martin is leading her first grade class through “Vamos Papa,” with each child reading a passage from the Spanish language story. Martin helps students through proper pronunciation and words they stumble on.

This is the Miami-Dade public schools’ extended foreign language program, or EFL. Students have five hours a week of classes taught in Spanish with additional lessons in English. It’s not just reading and writing, but also math and science. Spanish is part of everyday life in Miami, something  that’s different from most of the rest of the country. But Miami-Dade is struggling to find enough teachers qualified in both English and Spanish.

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