Bilingual education policy in Texas: pride and prejuicio
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This dissertation conducted a qualitative case study of the Texas Coalition for Bilingual Education (TCBE) to discover how it worked to promote and protect bilingual education programs and by extension educational opportunities of English Language Learners (ELLs) with particular attention to how members coalesced to mitigate the sociopolitical contextual factors that impacted bilingual education policy in Texas. The historical legacy and present creation and administration of policy, legislation, funding and implementation, including monitoring were included. The ELL population continues to rapidly increase while effective and additive bilingual education policy is on the decline; the academic achievement of ELLs is deteriorating in the face of substantiated civil rights violations, growing antiimmigrant sentiment and a contentious legislative atmosphere. My research indicates that bilingual education policy in Texas faces a wellfinanced threat from Structured English Immersion (SEI) proponents who try to justify the funding inequity for bilingual education. A court-ordered monitoring system for bilingual education has been replaced by a No Child Left Behind Act (2001) mandate that neither secures nor ensures equal education opportunity for ELLs (Pompa, 2006). Current bilingual education training programs are underfunded and under-populated when the growing enrollment of immigrant students, creates a critical demand. I employed a constructivist/interpretivist framework in this qualitative single case investigation. Additionally, Critical Race Theory framework (Noboa, 2002; Dicker, 2003), was utilized to demonstrate how racial identity, Latino leadership, coalitional strategies, social justice goals and political organizations addressed the issue of bilingual education policy reformation in Texas. I also employed the "weak ties" "strong ties" lens (Granovetter, 1973; 1983) to examine how these organizational representatives worked within and without the coalition to maximize limited resources. I collected data through interviews, court transcripts, observations of public meetings and trial proceedings, videos, archived documents and web casts. This research has implications for educational practices and future research because of the vulnerability of the ELL population and the devastating impact the present path will have for them and for all of Texas. Today's scholars, particularly Latinos, must be expert investigators in order to support the "best practices" in bilingual education, its attendant funding, policy, implementation and enforcement.