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Mass. should follow Utah’s path on bilingual education

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RE "UTAH schools set an example in dual language immersion" (Page A1, April 4): Thank goodness — or should I say, gracias al cielo — that this topic is gaining renewed interest. During 1990 and '91, I had the great privilege of teaching at the Rafael Hernandez School in Roxbury. The school is known for its excellent bilingual program. Students were taught in both English and Spanish. The program was so successful that when the school converted to a K-8, students who had passed the Boston Latin entrance exam decided to remain at the Hernandez.

I was teaching a sixth-grade class and was continually struck by the degree of fluency in Spanish exhibited by my non-Hispanic students and, conversely, by the degree of fluency in English my Hispanic students showed. The cognitive flexibility and general productivity such programs create have been studied repeatedly.

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Massachusetts needs to follow the path of Utah, especially since Utah has shown it can all be done with a minimal increase in per-student expenditure.

Si no es ahora, ¿entonces cuándo? (If not now, when?)

Abraham A. Abadi, Concord

The writer is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher and a retired assistant professor of education at Lesley University.