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Irene Lunt is a Spanish language volunteer for the Multilingual Mainers program in Brunswick and a senior studying computer science, mathematics, and education at Bowdoin College. These are her views and do not express any formal position on behalf of her educational institution. She was invited to contribute this piece by the Maine Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.

The Maine Department of Education provides world language standards for children starting in pre-K, and for good reason. Simply put: early language learning works wonders for brain development, with research supporting many of the cognitive benefits for second language learners. And yet, year after year, a lack of funding and resources prevents young students from receiving the language training they deserve.