Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Bilingual Education: History, Controversies, and the Philosophies That Drive It

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Bilingual Education: History, Controversies, and the Philosophies That Drive It

Article excerpt


Bilingual education has been, and is, a controversial and emotive topic in the United States. Immigrants have flocked to the United States in search of something better than what they had in their home country. Immigrants come for financial reasons, political asylum, and search for wealth and prosperity. Immigration is a global phenomenon, not inclusive to the United States. In recent months Hungarian police "supervised" hundreds of immigrants into an "Alien Holding Center" who are seeking asylum from war torn countries such as Serbia. According to Grulovic, Djurica and Robinson, (2015) an 11.5-foot fence was constructed along the borders of Hungary with Serbia to keep immigrants from crossing the border. Overwhelmed, 104 busloads of immigrants were sent to Austria and Germany as a way of reducing the impact of such an influx of people. In the United States border guards deport 11.7 million refugees back to their homeland, (Preston, 2013). According to Martin and Yankey 69,900 legally entered the United States in 2014 for political asylum. Dicerbo, (2006) estimates that one in five will be a school -aged child, requiring access to a free and appropriate public education. Because of immigration, both legal, and illegal, the U.S. public School system has felt the "strain" of providing an appropriate and free education to all. The National Center for Public Policy Research (n.d.) issued the following news release, "Each of the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border remaining in this country is legally entitled to a free public education."

The U.S. Constitution stipulates in the 14th Amendment that no state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws (The U.S Constitution online, 2007).Within those rights comes a legal obligation to educate all children within the borders of the United States.

Enforcing the 14th Amendment in the public school system has been a duty since the judgment held by the Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 (Webb, 2006). That responsibility has continued to be a controversial subject in the community, in the school system, and in the court system (Mora 2000). The daunting question that politically has been a major issue remains to be: how do we educate them appropriately?

The purpose of this literature review is to examine the history of bilingual education. The literature review will investigate the various controversies that surround bilingual education, and the philosophical forces behind bilingual education.

Review of the literature

The History of Bilingual Education

The passing of the Bilingual Act of 1968 reinforced the necessity for bilingual education in the United States several years after the decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) (Tafoya 2007). The Brown case was the beginning of legislation focusing on equal opportunities in education for all children. The Bilingual Act of 1968 created federal grants for the promotion of fair and equitable educational opportunities. Title VII under that act appropriated funding to the public school districts to implement programs that would meet the needs of the growing immigration population.

In 1970 the department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) summarized the bilingual act and determined that no one could be excluded from the funding provided by Title VII because they were non proficient in English (Mora, 2005). From 1968-1994 The Bilingual Act of 1968 underwent five reauthorizations to further accommodate English Language (ELL) Learners (Mora 2000). The latest changes have occurred with the legislation of No Child Left Behind in 2001 (Verdugo and Flores,2007).

When society deems that current legislation is in violation of the constitution, laws change. Legislation that legally enforces bilingual education is not an exception. …

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