Thursday, January 2, 2014

Accountability and the Elimination of Bilingual Education Programs in New York City Schools

Although educational policies for emergent bilinguals in New York City schools have historically supported the provision of bilingual education, the past decade has borne witness to a dramatic loss of bilingual education programs in city schools.

This study examines the factors that determine language education policies adopted by school principals, through qualitative research in 10 city schools that have eliminated their bilingual education programs in recent years and replaced them with English-only programs.

The findings draw a causal link between the pressures of test-based accountability imposed by No Child Left Behind and the adoption of English-only policies in city schools. Testing and accountability are used as the justification for dismantling bilingual education programs and create a disincentive to serve emergent bilingual students, as schools are far more likely to be labeled low performing and risk sanctions such as closure simply for admitting and educating these students.

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