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Bilingual Education in the United States: An Analysis of the Convergence of Policy, Theory and Research

Grooms, Andrea (2012) Bilingual Education in the United States: An Analysis of the Convergence of Policy, Theory and Research. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Bilingual education policy in the United States public school system has a long-standing social and political history plagued by a forty-year debate about its goals and effectiveness. Policy has been informed by theory aimed at identifying best methods to provide English instruction to English Language Learners (ELLs), and research on bilingual education program effectiveness. However, perceptions about language based on cultural and political values have also played a considerable role, and fuel the national debate. On one side of this debate, critics argue bilingual education hinders ELLs’ ability to assimilate and rapidly acquire the dominant language of the US. Proponents of bilingual education, on the other hand, see it as an enrichment program, benefiting both ELLs and native English speakers cognitively and politically within an increasingly globalized context. This study examines the forces (second language acquisition theory in bilingual education, research on program effectiveness, the history of bilingual education policy-making, and the influence of language ideology) comprising bilingual education, with the outcome being twofold. The first is to dispel common misperceptions perpetuated within the debate about bilingual education by unearthing the multiplicities of it through qualitative reviews of each component lending itself to the phenomenon. Second, to illustrate how policy-making is encompassed by language ideologies as evidenced particularly within bilingual education policy shifts over the past forty-years. The reviews in this study are designed to provide policy-makers and educators with a comprehensive account of bilingual education to improve and inform decision making about its future. The findings of these analyses suggest ideologically founded policy have led to legislation lacking alignment with theory and research demonstrating evidence of bilingual education program effectiveness.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberPaulston, Christina
Committee MemberGarman, Noreen
Committee MemberWeidman, John
Committee ChairBickel, William
Date: 11 January 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 October 2011
Approval Date: 11 January 2012
Submission Date: 5 January 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 195
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bilingual education, policy analysis, second language acquisition, bilingual education act, language ideology
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2012 19:40
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:55

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  • Bilingual Education in the United States: An Analysis of the Convergence of Policy, Theory and Research. (deposited 11 Jan 2012 19:40) [Currently Displayed]


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