A critical concern in providing an equal opportunity education for American children is how to best educate emergent bilinguals. The No Child Left Behind Act attempted to bridge the achievement gap with a standards-based approach. In Florida, home to many of the nation’s bilinguals, the act’s bilingual education policies were widely criticized. As described in previous studies, the implementation of NCLB in public schools generated mixed results. This research aimed to determine the experiences of students placed in ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in Florida during NCLB. Results showed that while these programs helped to increase English proficiency, their literacy-focused curriculums meant that many English Language Learners were deprived of a well-rounded education. Participants reported instances of verbal abuse, poor educational practices, and delays in their native language. This data supports the existing body of research on ESL classrooms in Florida, and points to ongoing issues in bilingual education.
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