With the advent of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2002, the policy for bilingual education in the U.S. faced a dramatic turnaround. English language learners (ELLs) are expected to masterEnglish as rapidly as possible in order to fulfill the curriculum standards. After more than thirty years of the implementation of the Bilingual Education Act (BEA), ELL students today are facing manyobstacles to achieve academic excellence and educational equity ( Meneken, 2006). The national figures of below average achieving students, those lacking early literacy skills, and those dropping outfrom school, are the result of the lack of consistency and academic rigor of a balanced/impartial/just language policy.
A study by Meneken (2006) examined changes high schools in New York City havemade to their instructional language policies due to high-stakes testing requirements for ELLs as mandated by NCLB accountability system. Her study revealed how well can ELL students perform on thestandardized test when a classroom language policy is adapted. A relevant finding was that when ELLs develop literacy in their first language it helps them develop English language literacy and contentknowledge. This entails an increase on the students’ scores on standardized test.
Meneken findings uncovered that the accountability requirements applied to all students, by having them toparticipate on a standardized test, have affected the instruction of ELLs. Schools in New York City have sacrificed ELLs needs in order to fulfill the federal requirement but ironically have come out with anunofficial instructional language policy which validates the maintenance of the students’ native tongue as a feasible alternative to master content curriculum and English language proficiency throughtransference of skills.
Lindholm-Leary and Block (2010) found that Latino ELL students on a dual language program from elementary schools in California achieved comparably or significantly higher...
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