For the low down on bilingual education, it is best to start with the website of Linda Chavez, an expert and activist against bilingual education If you have had a bad experience with bilingual education, e.g. arrogant, liberal educationists telling you that your child should be in bilingual education because he or she has a Latin surname, she would like to document your experience. In the post-World War II period, however, a series of events-including increased immigration, the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, the civil rights movement, the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite, the National Defense Education Act, the War on Poverty, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965-led to a rebirth of bilingual education in the United States.
In her research, Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, a professor of child development in the College of Education at San Jose State University, found that in developing proficiency in the English language, both English and Spanish speakers benefit equally from dual-language programs.
Proposition 227, a ballot initiative mandating instruction only in English for students who did not speak English, and passed by 63 percent of the 30 percent of the people in California who voted in 1998, is both a reflection of the public debate over bilingual education and an example of the impact of public opinion on education policy.
In their new book, Educating English Learners for a Transformed World, former George Mason University professors Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas – who strongly advocate bilingual education – cite statistics showing a big achievement gap at the high-school level between native English speakers and students who entered school as English learners.
On top of the extra responsibilities, bilingual teachers also have to overcome decades of prejudice against foreign language speakers, said Alfaro, who remembers being made to wear donkey ears at age five when she came to kindergarten speaking only Spanish.