Bilingual education in the United States: An overview of its history, public policy, and controversy



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The United States has developed into a culturally diverse nation in which bilingual education has emerged as a popular and controversial subject among school systems, the educational community, and the public. Laws concerning bilingual education programs lean heavily on political and social agendas, leaving the educational systems struggling to provide a successful, accommodating, and enriching academic atmosphere for non-English speaking students. This politically charged topic raises questions concerning the academic and social development of bilingual students through the use of past and current bilingual education programs including transitional bilingual education, English immersion, English as a second language, and two-way bilingual education. This paper reviews the literature of bilingual education and provides an overview of its abbreviated history, its components, progress, and controversy.