The United States has a long record of ambivalence toward recent immigrants. Nowhere is this love-hate relationship more evident than in the public school systems of high-immigration states like California, where pro- and anti-immigration advocates have waged a long-running battle over bilingual education versus English immersion programs. Unfortunately, this fierce political debate does t always ackwledge day-to-day reality in the schools, and the policies that result may ultimately hinder the schools and students they intend to help. Beyond Bilingual Education cuts through the politics, offering a statistical portrait of English language learners in five large California school districts and highlighting the results of more than 120 interviews conducted with teachers, school administrators, and community service providers about the challenges facing recent immigrants and the schools that serve them. This combined approach yields essential intelligence for policymakers, advocates, and administrators seeking to escape the trap of immigration politics. It is a vital perspective, because how our schools receive, treat, and educate these future workers will directly affect our country's ecomic and social health and progress.
Alec Ian Gershberg, Anne Danenberg, Patricia Sanchez