Why Bilingual Education?
Alternatives to Bilingual Education
Timeline of Bilingual Education
Contact Your Congressman
Legislation Related to Bilingual Education
This page covers the most influential legislation regarding bilingual education in the United States.
1906: The Nationality Act (Texas):
“Required immigrants to speak English in order to begin the process of becoming naturalized, legitimized the use of language as a mode of exclusion and discrimination.” 40
- Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) and Farrington v. Tokushige (1927): Supreme Court invalidated prohibitions against foreign language instruction in private schools.
- Meyer v. Nebraska: Forbidding the teaching in school of any language other than English until the pupil has passed the eight grade violates the 14th Amendment that guarantees liberty. 28
- Farrington v. Tokushige: Argued against Acts of the Legislature of Hawaii. 29
- Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925): Court invalidated an Oregon Law that had compelled attendance at public schools. Therefore, one can attend private schools.
- Oregon Compulsory Education Act is unreasonable. 30
- Mo Hock Ke Lok Po v. Stainback (1944): Parents have the right to have their children taught in a foreign language. 31
- 1954: Brown v. Board of Education: desegregation of public schools.
- 1st major educational policy
- Civil Rights Act of 1964: was the chief drive for bilingual education in the United States .
- Granted financial assistance to the public.
- Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965: provided federal aid for public schools.
- Mid 1960's: Language legislation was given important support by President Johnson's “War on Poverty”.
- Bilingual Education Act of 1974:
- Eliminated low-income criteria of the 1968 Act.
- Provided a definition of Bilingual education.
- Feedback and progress report must be given.
- Lau v. Nichols (1974): Discrimination among students on account of race or national origin is barred. This case is in direct reference to Chinese-speaking people. 33
- 1975: Office of Civil Rights published the Lau Remedies: guidelines that school districts should follow in order to comply with Lau decision.
- Districts that refused to establish bilingual education programs were no longer eligible for federal funding.
- Replaced by Lau Regulations at the end of the Carter Administration, which was withdrawn in 1981.
- Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools (1974): Court provides an adequate relief program for Spanish-surnamed children. 34
- 1981: Senator S.I. Hayakawa introduced a constitutional amendment that made English the sole official language of the United States.
- 1983: Hayakawa founds "U.S. English", a legislative organization.
- By 1998, twenty-five states had made English their official language. 37
- Ron Unz's Proposition 227 (California): the “English for the Children” initiative. This proposition eliminates bilingual education.
- Was passed in 1998, but is still debated today.
- Peaked people's interest in bilingual education. 38
- Passage was a significant event in California 's educational history. 39
- 1999: State initiative in Utah promotes English-only laws in the state government.
- 2000: Proposition 203 passed in Arizona: similar to proposition 227 in California.
- Eliminates teaching students in any other language besides English.
- 2001: The Colorado English for the Children Initiative: similar to proposition 227 in california and proposition 203 in Arizona.
- Eliminated bilingual education in Colorado's public schools.
- No Child Left Behind Act (2001): signed by President Bush is the successor of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
- Much debate over how helpful this is to non-native English speakers.
- Important Federal Councils that Deal with Bilingual Education:
- NACBE: National Advisory Council for Bilingual Education.
- OBE: Office of Bilingual Education: reevaluates bilingual education programs
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