School diversity is not a surprise as presently a large number of the educational population is comprised of students from many different cultural backgrounds. According to research conducted by Education Week (2011) there was a large growth of English language learners in the United Sates over the 21st century. This rise mandated the need for public schools throughout the nation to assist English language learners with the instruction of special language. Legislation has provided the rise of laws that mandate states to provide quality education to English language earners.
With these laws and initiatives arise issues, challenges, and benefits. In the case Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) Supreme Court Jude James Microseconds penned, “The protection of the United States Constitution extends to all, to those who speak other languages as well as to those born with English on the tongue” (Walsh, 2009). This legal decision provided parents with a constitutional right to influence and strengthen the education of their children. The law evolved as a result of the state of Nebraska preventing any curriculum that was not English based. This was eater deemed unconstitutional and therefore the law evolved.
The State of California in June of 1998 passed Proposition 227, also known as the English in Public Schools Initiative (1999). With the evolution of this legislation came a change in the way Limited English Proficient students were taught. This legislation not only decreased the amount of time these students stayed in special classes, it required California public schools to educate this population of students in special classes that are taught nearly in all English (1999). Drafted by Ron NZ, California Proposition 227 eliminated bilingual classes in a lot of cases.
This legislation also ended a great deal of programs in the state of California that previously established special classes to this population over a several year span that required these students to change from special classes to regular education classes once they obtained acceptable knowledge of English. Because it was determined that this population of non-English or limited English learner would be placed in special immersion classes for a “normal” period of less than one year, it was the hope that these students would be blew to mainstream into the classroom setting where English would be the primary language.
Passed in 2002 the state of Massachusetts passed Question 2 where bilingual education programs were replaced with instruction of English immersion classes for a one year period (2010). Opponents of this regulation argued that it would allow educators and teachers to be sued for teaching a language other than English but despite the opposition, the legislation was approved. The Massachusetts Question 2 legislation required public school aged students be taught all subjects in English, regardless of if they are in the same cultural, ethnic, or native language group or not.
In 2000 the state of Arizona mandated with Proposition 203 an initiative that dismantled most bilingual education in Arizona (Kerosene, 2 legislation structured immersion was developed to instruct language minority children in English in one year by allowing them to do classroom work in the mainstream in English. As a result of this legislation, along with the Floors v. Arizona case, Arizona mandates certified teachers and personnel receive Structured English Immersion certification.
A lot of attention is paid to a diverse group of students, the English Language Learners, who according to Jenkins (2008), is the most rapidly growing group of students in the United States. Most agree that all students need to learn the English language and be provided full access to the English curriculum so that they can be academically successful. In order to be academically successful, students must also understand English instruction and by not receiving this instruction in their native language, frustration occurs. How can students learn if hey do not understand the language?
An issue with state initiatives and laws is that students do not receive instruction in their native language and that is a problem. Olsen (2010) maintains that English Language Learners will require a minimum of seven years to develop proficiency in English. This is met with much opposition as students are required to receive English assessments at various times to test proficiency. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as NAPE, there is a wide range in reading and math in students who are English