The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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$2 Million granted to Asian Bilingual Program

For the next five years, a $2 million grant will be portioned out to CSUN’s Asian Bilingual Teacher Education Program Consortium from the U.S. Department of Education.

This is the second multi-million dollar grant obtained by Dr. Clara Park, secondary education professor and developer of the consortium. Park won a $3 million grant in 2010 for Hispanic bilingual credential students.

The $2 million award will be used to support students of Asian background seeking an MA in multicultural and multilingual education.

“I want students with Asian-language backgrounds to know that they are needed, and that we are here to support them,” Park said in a news release.

Park applied for the grant in May and it was received on Sept. 1.   She is the director for the Asian bilingual program that the grant is supporting, as well as the Hispanic program.

“These are funds secured for supporting students to go through a master’s program,” said Amy Unger, of the department of student services.

It will help to provide scholarships for about 100 or more students over the next five years, Unger said.

Only about 28 percent of the public school population in California is white and the rest are of minority background, Park said.

These demographics reflect the need for bilingual teachers to help ease the adjustment to Asian learners in an all-English environment, she added. It takes five to seven years to acquire another language, and because California has a lot of English learners from Asian countries, these future teachers can help bridge this language barrier for those students.

Recruitment for the similarly-focused Hispanic bilingual  program began this summer, Unger said. There are currently a dozen students in the program and recruitment has already begun for the Asian program.

“It is more than money, it’s training and technology workshops,” said Eraceli Barriga, senior biology major who has been with the Hispanic program since fall 2010. “It has helped me understand the purpose and importance of bilingual education and get specific skills for my career.”

These programs have been in place at other CSU’s since 1997, and within the last 14 years, it has grown to 11 campuses, Park said.

The Asian bilingual program is geared at five different languages including Chinese, Korean, Filipino/Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Hmong.

“Politicians can say what they want about bilingual education,” Park said in a statement.  “But the reality is, we live in a global, multicultural economy and society. For us to succeed as a nation, for us to succeed as a state, we need to educate people who are comfortable working in multicultural environment.”

Teachers are revered in other countries, but not in the United States, Park said. Parents here would rather their children become doctors or lawyers because of the way teachers are treated and compensated.

“All of the students I know are grateful for this opportunity,” Barriga said.

The grant will benefit 11 different California State University’s, including Northridge, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Stanislaus, Sacramento, Fullerton, San Diego, San Francisco, Fresno, Pomona and San Jose.

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