Bilingual Principals Required

August 26, 2005 1 min read

The Dallas school board recently approved a policy that will require some elementary principals--in schools where at least half the students are English-language learners--to learn how to speak Spanish.

This sounds good in principle to many educators. But others, particularly those grounded in the realities of school administrators’ lives, are wondering in the wake of the board’s vote just how practical and realistic this requirement will be.

For starters, will school principals, who typically work 50-60 hours a week simply taking care of business at their schools, have the time and energy necessary to become “proficient” (a policy requirement) in a second language in just three years? That’s a lot of studying in a short amount of time.

Also, as noted in a story on the Education Week Web site, the district has yet to define “proficient.” A definition seems in order if this is a requirement, and not just a suggestion for professional development.

The point is, before districts go down this route, there are many questions they need to ask and answer.

A version of this news article first appeared in the From an Editor’s Desk blog.