- Ohio passes the first law to officially allow Bilingual Education.
- The law permitted German-English instructcion upon the request of the parent.
- Cincinnati's first bilingual school was founded to aid the large German population.
- Louisiana passes a law allowing French-English instruction.
- Congress passes a law that prohibits Native Americans from being taught in their own languages.
- New Mexico passes a law recognizing and permitting Spanish instruction in public elementary schools.
- Federal policy begins separating many Native American students from their families.
- Native American students are sent to boarding schools and punished when caught speaking in their native language.
1889 Bennett Act (Wisconsin) and Edwards Act (Illinois)
- Children ages eight to fourteen in both public and private schools must be instructed in English in the "three 'R's" (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and American History.
1906 Nationality Act
- Congress' first federal language law requiring that all immigrants seeking naturalization speak English. The law theoretically should have solved the Bilingual Education issue.
- By 1923, 34 states had laws mandating English-only instruction.
- The Bureau of Indian Affairs rescinds its federal policy of repressing the use of Native American languages.
- This repression, however, continues illegally into the 1940s and 1950s.
1958 National Defense Education Act
- This act provided aid to both public and private schools at all levels to advance the areas of science, math, and modern foreign languages.
- The act also provided aid to English as a Second Language programs.
1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
- This act was passed by President Johnson.
- The act outlined and provided funds for educational programs that were considered essential for children and public education. Bilingual Education was one such program that received funding.
1967 ESEA, Title VII
- The Bilingual Education Act became a federal statute under Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Amendment of 1967.
- It provided federal funding for the Bilingual Education Act of 1968.
1968 Bilingual Education Act
- The act mandated that schools provide Bilingual Education programs.
- The act was passed during an era of growing immigration and an energized Civil Rights movement.
- The act provided federal funding to encourage local school districts to try approaches incorporating native-language instruction. This was the first time U.S. Congress had endorsed funding for Bilingual Education.
- Most states followed the lead of the federal government, enacting Bilingual Education Laws of their own or at least decriminalizing the use of other language in the classroom (Cohen, 29-31).
- In its first year, the act provided funding for 76 Bilingual Education programs and served students who spoke 14 different languages.
1982 Amendment to the Bilingual Education Act of 1968
- Terrence Bell, Secretary of Education, saw the guidelines in the Bilingual Education Act as too inflexible.
- Lawmakers amended the act, offering Title VII programs the option of using English-only instruction.
1994 Proposition 187 (California)
- Proposition 187 is introduced to deny illegal immigrants (or those suspected of being so) health care, social services, and public education.
- In November of 1994, the issue was brought to the voters, where it received 59% of the votes in its favor, and became a law.
- Its constitutionality was immediately challenged and three days after election day, a temporary restraining was placed on the new law.
- In March of 1998, U.S. District Court confirmed that the federal government has exclusive authority of immigration policies and thus, the law was unconstitutional. This court ruling effectively killed the law.
1998 Proposition 227 (California)
- Proposition 227 says that all California students must be taught in English as rapidly as possible.
- The proposition places non-English speaking students in a short-term English immersion program. Students generally do not spend more than one year in the program, however, one year after the English-only program was implemented, only 7% of students who had participated in the program were considered fluent in the English language.
- The proposition requires that all public education must be conducted in English and severely restricts the use of their native language for the instruction of English learners.
- The proposition was marketed as the "English for the Children" movement.
- The 2004 test results for CA public schools showed that the achievement gap was widening for English learners in CA.
- In 2004, the test scores of English learners were declining in a majority of the grade levels.
- Proposition 227 does not provide solutions to the challenges of cultural integration of language minorities.
2001 No Child Left Behind Act
- The act was originally the Bilingual Education/Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1964-5.
- The act mandates that each state must measure every public school student's progress in reading and math from the third grade through the eighth grade. Further progress must be measured at least once between the tenth and twelfth grades.
- By the 2007-2008 school year, assessments (or testing) in science will be underway.
- The act requires that all teachers teaching in Bilingual Education programs be fluent in English and any other language used in the classroom.
- The act gives parents the choice to enroll their children in a Bilingual Education program, but puts a three year "time-limit" on Bilingual programs. After a student has been in school for three consecutive years, English-only instruction must commence, regardless of the student's English speaking ability.