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Conclusion: Conclusion

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CONTESTED POLICY

targeted groups of individuals requiring special services. Many of them opposed bilingual education for different reasons. Some of them wanted to reverse the gains made by the supporters of bilingual education and halt the growth of bilingual education throughout the country. More specifically, they wanted to decrease or eliminate the use of non-English languages in public education and improve the academic achievement of low-income ELLs through the teaching of English only. Others wanted to eliminate the mandatory aspects of this policy and the federal preference for bilingual education. Others still wanted to promote Americanization instead of cultural pluralism in the schools and limit community involvement in education.

These individuals and groups did not formally organize and mount an assault against bilingual education until the late 1970s. During the next several decades, opponents of bilingual education coalesced around several key ideas that included ideological opposition to pluralism, to an

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3: Increasing Attacks Against Bilingual Education

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CONTESTED POLICY

INCREASING ATTACKS AGAINST BILINGUAL EDUCATION

The first major strategy raised questions about the goals, effectiveness, and consequences of federal bilingual education. Its emphasis was on challenging the need for sustained native language instruction. The primary attack against bilingual education from the beginning was aimed at questioning its effectiveness. During the late 1970s, opponents began to argue that bilingual education was not effective in teaching limitedEnglish-proficient (LEP) children English or in improving their academic achievement. Opponents also called for the enactment of a new policy that would consider alternatives to primary language instruction, especially English Immersion and English as a Second Language (ESL) approaches.4 This emerging opposition was limited to a few individuals; it was not yet fully organized.

Serious opposition to bilingual education originated in 1981 with the appearance of several reports issued by the Office of Planning, Budget, and Evaluation (OPBE). This office, in response to a request by the

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Conclusion: Contextual Forces in Bilingual Education

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CONCLUSION

105

of an English-only instructional program known as Special Alternative

Instructional Programs (SAIP).23 Funding was guaranteed for SAIP but not for the others. During the next decade, guaranteed funding for SAIP increased from ten to twenty-five percent of total bilingual education funds. Despite this gradual increase, the opponents of bilingual education continued to seek more drastic changes.24

In the first half of the 1990s, the election of President Clinton to the

White House, a Democrat and a strong supporter of bilingual education, temporarily halted the opposition’s efforts. However, during the second half of the decade, and as a result of the control by Republicans of both chambers of Congress in 1996 and the election of Republican George W.

Bush to the White House in 2000, congressional opponents renewed their attempts to change bilingual education policy. In 2001, they succeeded in enacting a new bill with most of the provisions that they had wanted for a decade. This legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act, amended and reauthorized the ESEA for the next six years.25 It authorized $26.5 billion in federal spending for the 2002 fiscal year that began October 1, a roughly $7 billion increase over 2001. It set up a comprehensive testing system to identity failing schools and needy students and stipulated that failing schools would get resources to get them back on track.26

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2: Introduction

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CHAPTER 2

THE EXPANSION OF BILINGUAL

EDUCATION, 1968–1978

INTRODUCTION

During the first decade of its existence, from 1968 to 1978, bilingual education policy was strengthened and transformed as it was implemented.

Federal court rulings, executive actions, and the political struggles of minority and non-minority group members contributed to its growth and strengthening.

The proponents of bilingual education constantly struggled for funds, created the administrative mechanisms for encouraging the establishment of bilingual education programs, provided definitions of and clashed over the goals and content of bilingual education, and developed a federal support system for its implementation. These developments led to a variety of programmatic, educational, and political changes and to the transformation in the goals, scope, and character of bilingual education. They also led to the emergence of an organized opposition to bilingual education policy.

TRANSFORMATION OF POLICY

Expand Scope of Legislation: From Categorical to

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Chapter 3: Retrenchment and Redefinition, 1980-1988

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CHAPTER 3

RETRENCHMENT AND

REDEFINITION, 1980–1988

INTRODUCTION

During the 1980s, organized opposition to bilingual education policy grew significantly. Politicians, educators, scholars, and parent groups began to criticize bilingual education policies and programs at all levels of government and to call for their curtailment.

Several specific factors were responsible for the growth of this opposition. Among the specific factors were the changes in policy over time, the increased federal support of bilingual education methods, growing minority empowerment, and misunderstandings and ignorance of pedagogical methods concerning first and second language learning among language majority and minority students in the United States.

A variety of underlying factors also contributed to the emergence of organized opposition to bilingual education in this decade. One of these was the rise of conservatism in American life in general and the control by the Republican Party of the executive branch of the federal government in particular. In 1980, Ronald Reagan, a one-time film actor, former California governor, and staunch Republican, won by a landslide.

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