California’s Gold: An Advocacy Framework for Young Dual Language Learners

In November, 2017, Dr. Marlene Zepeda, with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, released California’s Gold: An Advocacy Framework for Young Dual Language Learners. This Advocacy Framework, and associated interactive website, opens a dialogue on how best to integrate preschool with the early primary grades and improve Dual Language Learner (DLL) and English Learner (EL) education throughout these grades.

Now is the time to align systems and make investments on behalf of California’s Children. About 60% of children in California, ages birth to five years, live in a household where a language other than English is spoken. These children have great potential for multilingualism, and research clearly shows that language development takes time, and language supports must be implemented coherently across educational systems to ensure DLL and EL children are supported as they develop their first language and learn English.

Recent changes in state and federal policy–such as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Proposition 58, and the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), provide opportunities and resources for sustained focus on DLLs and their language development. California’s Gold aims to inspire coordinated action to integrate preschool with the early primary grades and improve DLL and EL education throughout these grades.

The framework identifies four areas of action critical to a high-quality PreK-3rd grade system:

  1. Workforce Development
  2. Curriculum and Instruction
  3. Assessment
  4. An Aligned PreK-3 System

Woven throughout all of these action areas, the framework emphasizes family engagement and the importance of family members as key actors in their children’s’ education and language development.

California’s Gold identifies specific near-term and longer-term opportunities within each of these areas. The website,, includes a page on each of the action areas with corresponding near- and long-term opportunities, and a link to download a brief fact sheet on each action area. The website also includes ways to access the full report, contact the author, and share these materials on social media. A webinar on the report with Framework author, Marlene Zepeda, was held on November 16, 2017 and is accessible here.

GPG provided support for the finalization of California’s Gold and the development of its accompanying print and web materials, including designing and facilitating stakeholder input and feedback sessions on content development and report design, and reviewing and providing feedback on report materials. GPG also supported the framework launch and communications efforts, including design, coordination, and facilitation of the November 16th webinar.