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Want To Be A Bilingual Teacher In An Asian Language? There's A Scholarship For That

An elementary-school age student reads a book with a front cover written in Chinese characters.
A student reads a book in Chinese during a second grade class at Broadway Elementary School in L.A.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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California has allocated $5 million to reducing a shortage of Asian bilingual language programs, with about half the funds going to teacher development. About 200 current and student teachers seeking credentialing in Asian languages are expected to benefit from the statewide program.

Who's eligible: The scholarships are for K-12 teachers and prospective teachers studying in the Cal State system. Teaching candidates are eligible for $20,000 scholarships. Current teachers could win a $2,200 scholarship or take required courses for free. 

Where the money is coming from: In 2022, the state legislature, led by the then-head of the AAPI legislative caucus State Sen. Richard Pan, allocated $5 million to improve the pipeline of teachers who can teach dual-immersion Asian language programs.

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Several languages are in demand: Vietnamese and Mandarin are the most-spoken languages in California after English and Spanish. Other popular Asian languages are Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Hmong, Tagalog and Khmer.

What's the program called and who's running it? The California State University Asian Language Bilingual Teacher Education Program Consortium is being led by Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education.

There's a severe shortage of bilingual programs: Despite the large number of Californians who speak Asian languages, there are comparatively few bilingual K-12 programs to keep up with demand. Less than 10% of nearly 1,200 bilingual accreditations in the 2020-2021 school year were for Asian languages.

Why this matters: Supporters of the program say these bilingual programs will not only broaden language skills but go a long way toward bridging cultural divides.

Go deeper: Lack Of Asian Language Teachers In California Leads To Demand For State Investment

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