We excerpt here from U.S. Department of Education (1991), to provide a long-range context for the current controversies about bilingual education:
Although Federal involvement with bilingual education in the United States began with the passage of the Bilingual Education Act of 1968, an amendment to Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, it has its roots in early nineteenth-century America.
In the public schools of a number of states between 1839 and 1880, including Ohio, Louisiana, and New Mexico, German, French and Spanish were used for instruction. Between 1880 and 1917, German-English bilingual schools, in which both languages were used for instruction, operated in Ohio, Minnesota, and Maryland. In several other states, German was included in the curriculum as a subject rather than as a means of instruction. The same is true for Norwegian, Italian, Czech, Dutch, and Polish.1
In private schools, mostly parochial, German-English bilingual education flourished throughout the United States before 1800. Also during this period, many French schools were established in the northeastern United States (precursors of the modern-day Lyçée Français found in New York City, for example), and Scandinavian and Dutch schools were formed in the Midwest. It should be noted that many of these institutions were not actually bilingual schools but rather non-English schools that taught English as a subject in the curriculum. After 1880, the number of private schools offering instruction in other languages proliferated and included many, still in existence, for Japanese and Chinese children on the West Coast.
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Assessing Evaluation Studies: The Case of Bilingual Education Strategies Appendix A Bilingual Education in the United States A BRIEF HISTORY We excerpt here from U.S. Department of Education (1991), to provide a long-range context for the current controversies about bilingual education: Although Federal involvement with bilingual education in the United States began with the passage of the Bilingual Education Act of 1968, an amendment to Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, it has its roots in early nineteenth-century America. In the public schools of a number of states between 1839 and 1880, including Ohio, Louisiana, and New Mexico, German, French and Spanish were used for instruction. Between 1880 and 1917, German-English bilingual schools, in which both languages were used for instruction, operated in Ohio, Minnesota, and Maryland. In several other states, German was included in the curriculum as a subject rather than as a means of instruction. The same is true for Norwegian, Italian, Czech, Dutch, and Polish.1 In private schools, mostly parochial, German-English bilingual education flourished throughout the United States before 1800. Also during this period, many French schools were established in the northeastern United States (precursors of the modern-day Lyçée Français found in New York City, for example), and Scandinavian and Dutch schools were formed in the Midwest. It should be noted that many of these institutions were not actually bilingual schools but rather non-English schools that taught English as a subject in the curriculum. After 1880, the number of private schools offering instruction in other languages proliferated and included many, still in existence, for Japanese and Chinese children on the West Coast. 1 Texas Education Agency, Report on Bilingual Education, 1990
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Assessing Evaluation Studies: The Case of Bilingual Education Strategies Contrary to the widely accepted myth that earlier immigrant groups managed without special programs, most immigrant children who entered schools were more likely to sink than swim in English-only language classrooms. In 1908, for example, just 13 percent of the twelve-year-olds enrolled in New York public schools, and whose parents were foreign-born, went on to high school, compared with 32 percent of white children whose parents were native-born, see Crawford (1989). Some immigrants with limited English skills and no formal education were able to succeed because the economy, with its industrial and agricultural base, relied on uneducated and unskilled labor. From 1919 to 1950, American education turned away from the use of languages other than English for instruction in both the public and the private schools. This period in American history was marked by intense nativism. Public sentiment toward many foreign nationals and immigrants was not generally favorable. Instruction became increasingly concentrated in English to the exclusion of other languages. These changes particularly affected speakers of German, the group that had fostered bilingual education most extensively prior to the First World War. In many states, laws governing education resulted in school systems in which generations of children were scorned and punished for speaking languages other than English in school. One of the most important changes to occur in American society during the twentieth century was the transformation from an economy that relied on large numbers of unskilled workers to one that demanded highly trained workers. English literacy skills became virtually indispensable for increased participation in the labor force, although immigrants with no English skills or formal education could still find work in agricultural or service sector jobs in rural areas, cities and suburbs. In a memorandum dated May 25, 1970, the Office for Civil Rights in the former Department of Health, Education, and Welfare advised school districts of their responsibility to provide special language services to limited English proficient students under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this requirement in its 1974 decision in Lau v. Nichols. Since then the Office for Civil Rights has reviewed and approved special language services programs in hundreds of school districts nation-wide. In addition, in its recently issued National Enforcement Strategy, the Office for Civil Rights made the provision of equal educational opportunities for national origin minority and American Indian students who are limited English proficient a priority issue for. The following definitions and classifications used in bilingual education are also take from U.S. Department of Education (1991): Methods to Identify Limited-English-Proficient Students Within the parameters of state statutes and regulations, school districts use their own criteria for identifying LEP students. Current methods used by school districts generally include a combination of the following: Teacher information or referral; Parent information; Home language surveys to gather information on students' language and background; Evaluation of student records;
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Assessing Evaluation Studies: The Case of Bilingual Education Strategies Assessment of achievement level — a formal or informal procedure to determine students' levels of achievement in various academic subjects; and Language assessment tests — a formal or informal procedure to determine a student's level of English proficiency. According to the Bilingual Education Act, the terms limited “English proficiency” and ''limited “English proficient” refer to: ''[A] individuals who were not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; "[B] individuals who come from environments where a language other than English is dominant; and "[C] individuals who are American Indian and Alaska Natives and who come from environments where a language other than English has had a significant impact on their level of English language proficiency; and who, by reason thereof, have sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language to deny such individuals the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English or to participate fully in society. 20 U.S.C. 3283 (a)(1). The Title VII legislation offers a broad definition of LEP and allows for a variety of groups, all of whom must meet the statutory definition of LEP. State laws establish a variety of instructional methods. Many states use multiple methods for student identification. For example, California and Colorado use language assessment, achievement and criterion referenced tests, home language surveys, and oral language assessments. New York relies on language assessment tests and home language surveys. Number and Distribution of Limited-English-Proficient Students Across the States In an effort to estimate the number of limited English proficient children in the United States, the Department [of Education] commissioned the Bureau of the Census to conduct the English Language Proficiency Survey in the early 1980's. This survey entailed the administration of tests to determine the English language proficiency of a nationally representative sample of language minority children. Based on an extensive analysis of these data, the Department estimated that as of January 1986, between 1.2 million and 1.7 million children aged 5–17 lived in language minority households in the fifty states and the District of Columbia, made substantial use of a language other than English, and scored at or below the twentieth percentile on a measure of English language proficiency. In a more recent estimate, the state education agencies receiving Title VII funding reported in school year 1989–90 a count of about 2.2 million limited English proficient students, including 227,000 limited English proficient students in Puerto Rico and the outlying territories and associated republics. The population of LEP students has not remained constant throughout the United States. In 1989–90, California reported in increase of 118,972 LEP students, which represents an increase of 14 percent between school years. Unexpectedly, the greatest reported percentage increases in LEP students occurred in the Midwest: 38 percent in Montana; 46 percent in Oklahoma; 39 percent in South Dakota; and the 36 percent in North Dakota. In the East, Delaware reported a 41 percent increase. Several states reported only slight
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Assessing Evaluation Studies: The Case of Bilingual Education Strategies TABLE A-1 Methods Used By Participating States and Territories To Determine LEP Status, FY 1989 increases in their LEP populations; among these were Hawaii, Mississippi, and New York. Two states reported notable decreases in LEP populations between school years 1988–89 and 1989–90:30 percent in Louisiana, 28 percent in Tennessee. Differences in criteria utilized in identifying LEP students, and improved counting procedures, may account for some of the dramatic changes, but there may be additional causes. These states may have fewer new LEP students enrolling in schools and existing LEP students may be learning English. There is considerable variation among the states in terms of the proportion of LEP students among their overall student populations as reported for school year 1989–90. California reported 16 percent of its student population as LEP, New Mexico reported 19 percent, and Texas reported 9 percent. A number of states reported less than 1 percent.
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Assessing Evaluation Studies: The Case of Bilingual Education Strategies CHRONOLOGY OF IMPORTANT EVENTS IN BILINGUAL EDUCATION POLICY 1968 Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided funds for staff and materials development as well as parent involvement for students with limited English skills. There was no requirement for schools to use non-English language. The law was specified for students who are both poor and “educationally disadvantaged because of their inability to speak English.” Signed on Jan. 2,1968, by Johnson. 1971 (November) Massachusetts passed the Transitional Bilingual Education Act promoting transitional bilingual education in school districts with 20 or more students from same language background; followed by Alaska and California (1972); Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, and Texas (1973); Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island (1974); Colorado, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Wisconsin (1975); Indiana (1976), Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, and Utah (1977); and Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, and Washington (1979). 1974 (January) Lau v. Nichols decision based on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The Supreme Court ruled that “there is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education.” Regarding remedies the Court ruled that “no specific remedy is urged upon us. Teaching English to the students of Chinese ancestry who do not speak the language is one choice. Giving instructions to this group in Chinese is another. There may be others. Petitioners ask only that the Board of Education be directed to apply its expertise to the problem and rectify the situation.” 1974 Re-authorization of Bilingual Education Act. The poverty criterion was dropped, and the act also required schools to include instruction in native language and culture. 1975 Lau remedies issued by the Commissioner of Education, Bell, on August 11. These remedies went beyond the Lau decision and required that bilingual education must be provided. These remedies were drafted and circulated without public comment and were not equivalent to Federal regulations. 1978 AIR study, Evaluation of the Impact of ESEA Title VII Spanish/English Bilingual Education Program, released in January. 1978 Reauthorization of Bilingual Education Act. Mandated data collection and coordination of these activities by different agencies of the Office of Education (Part C). 1979 Proposed Research Plan for Bilingual Education issued by the Education Division, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in response to a request from Congress. 1979 Study of Significant Bilingual Instructional Features started, planned for 4 years (fiscal years 1979–1982).
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Assessing Evaluation Studies: The Case of Bilingual Education Strategies 1980 The Department of Education is created, and the Office of Bilingual Education is expanded to the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (OBEMLA). 1980 The Lau regulations were proposed by Carter administration on August 5, to mandate bilingual education in schools with at least 25 LEP students from same language group in K-8. The proposed regulations were withdrawn by the Reagan administration (Bell) on Feb. 2, 1981, which called them “harsh, inflexible, burdensome, unworkable, and incredibly costly,” and criticized native language instruction as “an intrusion on state and local responsibility …. We will protect the rights of children who do not speak English well, but we will do so by permitting school districts to use any way that has proven to be successful” (Crawford, 1989, page 43). 1981 Castaneda v. Pickard. The Court of Appeals interpreted Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974 statement of “appropriate action” as requiring the meeting of three criteria: (1) it must be based on a “sound educational theory;” (2) it must be “implemented effectively” with adequate resources and personnel, and (3) after a trial period, it must be evaluated as effective in overcoming language handicaps (Crawford, 1989, page 47). 1981 (September) The Baker and de Kanter internal OPBE document, “Effectiveness of Bilingual Education: A Review of the Literature,” was circulated. 1982 The RFP for National Longitudinal Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Services for Language-Minority Limited-English-Proficient Students was issued by Department of Education; closing date Sept. 7. 1983 “Longitudinal Study of Immersion and Dual Language Instructional Programs for Language Minority Children” begun 12/15/83 through 12/15/88; fiscal year 1983 funds of $1,400,000. 1983 “National Longitudinal Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Services to Language Minority, LEP Students” begun 9/20/83 through 9/88; fiscal year 1983 funds of $1,505,000. 1984 Reauthorization of Bilingual Education Act reserved 4–10 percent of total appropriations for Special Alternative Instructional Programs that do not require instruction in native language. National Advisory Council for Bilingual Education eliminated. 1985 The Secretary of Education, William Bennett, launched an initiative to remove the 4 percent cap for Special Alternative Instructional Programs and advocated greater flexibility and local control (Sept. 26). 1987 The GAO study that criticized the claims of the Department of Education was released with responses from Chester Finn representing the department's position. 1988 Reauthorization of Bilingual Education Act; up to 25 percent of funds were made available for Special Alternative Instructional Programs.