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A Critical Review of Bilingual Education in the United States: From Basements and Pride to Boutiques and Profit

  • Nelson Flores (a1) and Ofelia García (a2)

In this article we connect the institutionalization of bilingual education to a post–Civil Rights racial formation that located the root of educational inequalities in the psychological condition of people of color in ways that obscured the structural barriers confronting communities of color. Within this context, bilingual education was institutionalized with the goal of instilling cultural pride in Latinx students in ways that would remediate their perceived linguistic deficiencies. This left bilingual educators struggling to develop affirmative spaces for Latinx children within a context where these students continued to be devalued by the broader school and societal context. More recent years have witnessed the dismantling of these affirmative spaces and their replacement with two-way immersion programs that seek to cater to White middle-class families. While these programs have offered new spaces for the affirmation of the bilingualism of Latinx children, they do little to address the power hierarchies between the low-income Latinx communities and White middle-class communities that are being served by these programs. We end with a call to situate struggles for bilingual education within broader efforts to combat the racialization of Latinx and other minoritized communities.

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Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0267-1905
  • EISSN: 1471-6356
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