The Legal and Historical Rationale of Bilingual Education Essay

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The legal and historical rationale of Bilingual Education has been around for quite some time and appears to a continuous issue with educators and political figures. Numerous articles have been written in favor and against Bilingual Education. The articles I read and summarized relate to some of the issues that have evolved from various proponents and opponents of how education should be presented to ELs in the United States. Summaries and a brief timeline of legislation up to the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) follow.
In 1965, the Secondary Education Act (ESEA) passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson even though there was concern prior to that date. It outlined and provided funds for educational programs that were considered
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NCLB gives parents the choice to enroll their children in a Bilingual Education program, but with a three year "time-limit" on Bilingual programs. After a student has been in school for three consecutive years, students are to be given English-only instruction, regardless of the student's English proficiency. It also requires that all teachers teaching in Bilingual Education programs be fluent in English and any other language used in the classroom.
An article by Attinasi (1999), places California as a test case for the nation, especially regarding language and education. His article is a thought provoking discourse of what exactly it is that benefits the student. The restrictions proposed by Proposition 227, affects 1.4 million children and their families in the state. Education structured for the English learner, whether bilingual or only English programs, must cultivate support within the entire school, build connections with parents, and acknowledge the value of students’ personal and cultural experiences or it will ultimately fail the children (Attinasi, pp.279-280). California represents half the nation’s immigrants and operates half its bilingual programs, including many exemplary ones.
The central issues in bilingual education, according to Attinasi, have not been political or legislative; they have been more of a philosophical concern. The issues have been the role that non-English languages

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