Thesis Title

Effect of Proposition 227 on the Academic Achievement of English Language Learners

Graduation Date

Summer 2008

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name

Education

Program Director

Madalienne Peters, EdD

Abstract

With the passing of Proposition 227 in California in 1998, bilingual education and the use of primary language of students for instructional purposes was severely restricted. The passing of the initiative created great controversy about the effectiveness of bilingual education in contrast to English immersion programs, the latter having been mandated for California schools through Proposition 227.

The programs articulated in Proposition 227 contradict linguists beliefs about how one acquires language. Briefly, linguists believe that it takes five to seven years for students to develop academic competency in English. There is research that supports the effectiveness of bilingual education and the importance of using the primary language of

students for instructional purposes.

The purpose of this research is to look beyond standardized test results to examine how the academic achievements of English language learners have been impacted in the experience of classroom teachers. I interviewed teachers from a school site that has eliminated bilingual education as a result of the implementation of Proposition 227. The interview subjects were asked questions about the implementation of the initiative and its affects on the academic achievement of ELLs.

An analysis of the data from the interviews revealed that teachers thought that Proposition 227 had a positive effect on students enrolled in their schools. Previously, these students had not been successful in the bilingual programs as they existed at that time.

It is important to note that the bilingual program at a specific site was not effective for new English speakers. The native English speakers, who came in to leant Spanish, were successful academically.

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