A group of OneAmerica Leaders at our lobby day in 2020

OneAmerica leaders at our 2020 Lobby Day


We know that bilingual education, where students are learning two languages or more in school, has the power to transform Washington schools while significantly improving outcomes for all students. A large part of our SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE campaign is direct advocacy to pass bills that will expand bilingual education and truly uplift students languages. This legislative session we have been pushing to pass HB 1322 / SB 5607 which would work towards closing the opportunity gap for all students.

By 2025, 1 in 4 students enrolled in Washington State public schools will be an English language learner (ELL) or have an immigrant/refugee parent. With demographics of Washington rapidly changing, we must meet the needs of our increasingly diverse student body with strategies that improve school readiness and student outcomes. It is imperative that we begin to implement strategies to close the opportunity gap and make those investments now.

OneAmerica leader Hodon traveled to Olympia a few weeks ago to share why dual language programs are pivotal for the future of her two Somali-American sons. She shared that it is “very important to raise them in an environment where multicultural heritage is celebrated.” She wants her children to feel that their language has always been a part of their lives, rather than something they search for later.


Unfortunately, as of February 28, the SB 5607 is still alive but likely to not pass so we have turned our ask into a budget proviso to ensure the programs are funded from early learning to K-12 for at least one more year. In addition to that, we are advocating to pass HB 2556, Community Pathways, that focuses on the rights of immigrant and bilingual providers.  Equity in early learning means ensuring alternative pathways that allow for immigrant and bilingual providers to meet the new Early Childhood Education certificate education requirements through a community based option. Trainings need to be low-cost, offered in multiple languages and available closer to where people live and work.


If you believe dual language programs should be funded and that community pathways (BH 2556) for bilingual providers is funded and passed, click here to contact your legislators TODAY to ensure our programs are funded in the budget! 

Here is what we are asking legislators for:
  • $5 million for early learning funding
  • $500,000 for community pathways (HB 2556)
  • $2.85 million for K-12 dual language grants
  • $700,000 for heritage and language grants

Join us to continue advocating for SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE programs that will give our children a chance to truly thrive in their classrooms.