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Two-way bilingual immersion education has great potential to promote skills that students will need for the changing global job market and to help eradicate the achievement gap between native English-speaking and English language-learning students (Lindholm-Leary, 56).
Ideally, these programs work best when the numbers of language majority and language minority students are balanced.
There are different implementations of this model that may or may not maintain this balance amongst the students.
There are differences in language, student population and enrollment, and program features and designs.
Although Spanish is the most prevalent second language, programs differ in target languages and in the proportion of students who speak both languages.
For example, programs with a first come, first served policy does not guarantee this balance because it may enroll more language majority than language minority students or vice versa. Some may consider language background and proficiency while others may screen students for other characteristics like learning disabilities.
Many of these programs set an upper limit and prevent newcomers from joining the program at upper level grades.
These programs also challenged them more, gave them more confidence, and gave them a better education than a standard school model would have done (Lindholm-Leary, 58).
Today, Latino students have the highest dropout rate in the United States.
All around the country issues have come up concerning bilingual education.
Some policy makers, taxpayers, and even many educators believe that bilingual education is not effective (Bilingual Research Journal on Line).