The state of Texas was an early pioneer in providing academic instruction to children using their native language while simultaneously developing proficiency in English. Another emerging issue is the potential competition for teaching and fiscal resources from local enrichment language programs that include non-LEP students and the mandated programs that are essential to ensuring that those students with the most need have access to all the resources needed to address civil rights based concerns.
As a result of that litigation, the state revised the mandate and required school systems to offer bilingual education programs in elementary grades, English as a second language (ESL) or bilingual programs at post-elementary grades through eighth grade, and ESL programs in high school.
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.
Phyllis Hardy, director of advocacy and extension activities for the Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education, said programs like the one in Austin, Texas, which build on students’ proficiencies in their native languages while teaching them English, are too much like transitional bilingual education to be accepted in Massachusetts under the current law.
It uses the change in a school’s bilingual education prevalence predicted by perfect compliance with Proposition 227 as an instrumental variable for a student’s actual participation status in bilingual education and controls for a rich set of school characteristics to address the concern that schools with higher and lower pre-policy bilingual education prevalence rates differ systematically.