Bilingual education programs have been implemented for decades. Non-English speaking students in bilingual education programs, however, have shown no academic or social improvement compared to similar students in English-only schools. The disadvantages of bilingual education programs outnumber the advantages. In addition, recent statistics suggest the need for reconstruction of the present bilingual education programs. Schools began teaching academics in languages other than English as early as the 1700â€™s, but not until the 1960â€™s did society recognize the hundreds of thousands of non-English speaking students struggling in the current system. Before that time, immigrants were enrolled in non-English schools. The fight for a bilingual education program started during the Civil Rights Movement. Immigrants, especially Latin and Mexican Americans, observed the progress that African Americans were making and decided to fight for â€œequal education.â€ More than 50 percent of Spanish speaking students were dropping out of school each year.
The schools found a definite need for intervention. In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Bilingual Education Act, which provided federal assistance to school districts to develop bilingual education programs. Bilingual education programs were designed to teach non-English speaking students in their native language. Theoretically, with this kind of instruction, studentsâ€™ test scores and college admittance would increase and lead to brighter career paths for students not proficient in English. Federal law was expanded in 1974 when the Equal Education Opportunity Act was signed in order to strengthen the rights of non-English speaking students. This act ruled that public schools must provide programs for students who speak little or no English. Rosalie Porter, author of â€œThe Case Against Bilingual Education,â€ additionally points out that this was the fi