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ERIC Number: EJ903371
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0161-956X
Before the Federal Bilingual Education Act: Legislation and Lived Experience in California
Petrzela, Natalia Mehlman
Peabody Journal of Education, v85 n4 p406-424 2010
The federal Bilingual Education Act (BEA; 1968) augured a new era in the national politics of diversity, schooling, and state, and California became symbolic of the problems and promise of bilingual pedagogy. This article explores how the BEA was pivotal not only in conceiving a federal commitment to the educational achievement of limited-English-speaking children but also in spurring state and local action. Yet close attention reveals how philosophically and fiscally limited were the terms of the federal act. California had been experimenting with bilingual education in many districts, where innovative programs operated independently of state or federal involvement. On one hand, the emerging legislative structure embodied by the federal BEA pushed districts and states to question the received attitudes about Mexican American underachievement that permeated their practice. On the other hand, the BEA supplanted earlier, locally developed programs, increasing oversight and enforcement and often casting districts as villains and at times even checking adventurous earlier programs. In the 1960s, Californians as well as national politicians and educators engaged in an unprecedented, bipartisan dialogue about bilingual education, in which California conservatives earnestly advocated albeit moderate programs during these early but crucial years in the modern history of bilingual education. (Contains 5 footnotes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Bilingual Education Act 1968; Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title VII