History of Multilingual Competency in the U.S.


1839 Ohio is the first state to adopt a bilingual education law.


Louisiana passes a law similar to Ohio's bilingual education law


Congress prohibits Native Americans from being taught in heir own languages


Congress prohibits Native Americans from being taught in heir own languages

Attempts being to legislate against German

1888 - 1900

1888 ~Attempts being to legislate against German and in favor of English. 1900~~Over 15 million children, many new immigrants, are now enrolled in public schools... At least 600,000 elementary students received some part of their education in German

Florida implements a full bilingual program for Cubans


1961 Dade County, Florida implements a full bilingual program for Cubans

Civil Rights Act


Stated the concept of equality in federal law. Several parts of the Act were significant for language minority students. An example Title VI of the Act provided that any person participating in any program receiving federal financial assistance could not be discriminated against on the basis of race or national origin.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act


An emphasis on equality led to this act in which Title I of the ESEA provided assistance to educational agencies for children of low
income families.

Start of change in bilingual education


In 1967, Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas introduced a bill which proposed to provide assistance to school districts in establishing educational programs specifically for LESA students.(Limited English Speaking Ability)

Title VII or the Bilingual Education Act


The first federal recognition that LESA students have special educational needs and that in the interest of equal educational opportunity, bilingual programs that address those needs should be federally funded.
It also began the process of formally recognizing that ethnic minorities could seek differentiated services for reasons other
than segregation or racial discrimination.

Provisions: Grants were given to provide
1)resources for educational programs
2)training for teachers and teacher aides.
3)development and dissemination of materials
4)parent involvement projects
The Act did not explicitly require bilingual instruction or the use of the students’ native language for educational purposes, but encouraged innovative programs designed to teach the students English. The Act also placed priority on low income families; non-English-speaking students from families with
moderate income levels were not included

Amendments to the Bilingual Education


Congress amended the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 to clarify the intent and design of programs for LESA students. The 1974 Act specified the following: 1)the definition of a bilingual education program; 2) program goals; 3) regional support centers; and 4) capacity-building efforts

Equal Education Opportunity Act


Title II of the Educational Amendments Act of 1974, the Equal Educational Opportunity Act, also affected the education of LESA students by specifically mentioning that language barriers were to be overcome by instructional programs. This Act effectively extended the Lau ruling to all students and
school districts, not only to those receiving federal funds. School districts were required to have special programs for LESA students regardless of federal or state funding.

Lau v. Nichols


This case was a class- action suit brought against the San Francisco school district, alleging that 1,800 Chinese students were being denied an equal education because of their limited English skills.
The Supreme Court overruled the lower courts, arguing that the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curricula do not constitute equal education.
They ruled that no student shall be denied “equal access” to any academic program due, due to “limited English proficiency.”

Amendments to the Bilingual Education Act


Expanded the eligibility for bilingual programs from those who were students of limited English speaking ability to those who were of "limited English proficiency" In addition, the amendments specified the goals of transitional bilingual education programs. Such programs were to prepare limited English proficient students to enter the regular classroom as quickly as possible. The native language was to be used only to the extent necessary for students to become proficient in English.

Senator S.I. Hayakawa

1981 - 1998

Introduced a constitutional amendment that made English the sole official language of the United States in 1981 Official Language
1998 twenty-five states had made English their official language.



Addressed the need for increased flexibility in the implementation of programs for LEP students by giving local school districts a greater voice in deciding how LEP students should be taught. School districts were able to apply for funds for different types of programs that used various teaching strategies.Withdraw of the Lau Remedies.

Provisions of Bilingual Education Act


Under the 1984 Amendments, grants were awarded for several types of special programs for LEP students including:
1. transitional bilingual education programs, in which structured English language instruction is combined with a native language component and up to 40 percent of the class may be non-LEPstudents;
2. developmental bilingual education programs, in which full-time instruction is given in both English and a second language with the goal of achieving competence in both English and a
second language;
3. special alternative instructional programs in which the native language need not be used, but English language instruction and special instructional services are given to facilitate achievement of English competency.
The Amendments also stipulated that parents or guardians take a greater role in the education of LEP students. The schools were to explain why their child was selected for a Title VII program and inform them about available alternatives. The parents or guardians were also to be informed of their right to
decline enrollment in any of the Title VII programs and accept enrollment in mainstream classes.

Bilingual Education Act


This Act includes several changes from previous re-authorizations that reflect the current emphasis on the diversity of LEP students and approaches to their education.

Ron Unz's Proposition 227 (California)

1998 - 2000

Was passed in 1998, but is still debated today. Peaked people's interest in bilingual education. Passage was a significant event in California 's educational history.
State initiative in Utah promotes English-only laws in the state government

English-only laws

1999 - 2000

State initiative in Utah promotes English-only laws in the state government.
Proposition 203 passed in Arizona

Similar to proposition 227 in California. Eliminates teaching students in any other language besides English.