Linguistic diversity in a monolingual education system : a case study of Texas school districts and their support for English learning students.


The passing of influential education policy at the federal, state, and local levels of government directly impacts students within the American public education system. Despite a growing population of bilingual students across the U.S., the government has maintained a monolinguistic perspective on bilingual education reflected in education policy. In the American education system, English Learner (EL) students are often labeled as “struggling” due to their lack of English proficiency. This focus on the lack of English proficiency highlights the issue at hand: politicians, policymakers, and educators often view bilingualism through a deficit-based lens which devalues the skills of bilingualism and focuses instead on English proficiency. In this case study, I examined the school board member composition, additions to federal and state requirements for EL students, and standardized assessment data at four Texas school districts. My research findings identified influential board member characteristics and helpful bilingual education program methods which led to a narrower achievement gap for EL students.