California's Gold | An Advocacy Framework for Young Dual Language Learners

Capitalizing on California’s Diversity Today, for a Brighter Tomorrow

A child’s early years of life are marked by an chicago turabian format paper incredible capacity for growth and learning. For the majority of California’s young children, this potential is magnified by their linguistic and cultural diversity. California’s Gold opens a dialogue on how best to support dual language learners in the early years.

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Key Areas for Action

California’s Gold elevates four areas for action that are critical to a high-quality PreK-3rd grade system. If attended to, these areas could significantly advance the education of DLLs and strengthen the state's early learning system.
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    Workforce Development
    A strong workforce of teachers and administrators responsive to the unique learning needs of DLLs.
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    Curriculum & Instruction
    Curricular and instructional models and resources attuned to the diverse learning needs of DLLs.
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    Assessment approaches that more accurately depict and measure how DLLs are learning.
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    An Aligned PreK-3 System
    An integrated early childhood and TK-12 system that recognizes the importance of continuity and coherence with the early childhood period and that meets the needs of DLLs.
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A Matter of Shared Responsibility

The achievement gap begins before kindergarten for some DLLs and persists throughout the elementary and middle school years. In the absence of aligned approaches to support English language development and prevent home-language loss, too many English Learners (ELs) in our state face an uncertain future.


Recent results of California’s Smarter Balanced Assessment show that 65 percent of ELs failed to meet basic standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.


Nationwide, 70 percent of 4th graders identified as ELs are reading below the basic level as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

  • About this Framework

    This Framework opens a dialogue about how to integrate preschool with the early primary grades and improve DLL/EL education throughout these grades.

  • Why this Matters

    Dual language learners are a large and growing part of the young child population in California. An aligned system of early education and TK-12 can create the necessary conditions to simultaneously nurture a child’s home language and English language development.

  • About the Author

    Marlene Zepeda is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

About this Framework