Bilingual education in the US has rapidly changed history. Where was permissiveness toward bilingual education initially present?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As early as the 1700s schools were run by separated nationalities, but in 1839 Ohio was the first state to pass legislation for the bilingual education of German children.  In 1847 Louisiana had bilingual (French/English) education in their schools.  In the 1870s, William Harris argued for bilingual education and established the first "kindergarten" conducted in German to give students a head-start toward public school. In 1967 then Governor Ronald Reagan signed into law SB35 which allowed the use of other languages for the purpose of instruction in the public schools of California.  More legislation followed this initial step toward bilingual education, especially in 1981 when the Bilingual Act was passed.  In 1968 and 1974 the Supreme Court passed the Bilingual Education Acts, also known as Title VII, which provided supplemental funding for school districts interested in establishing programs for students of "limited English proficiency" or LEP. The Equal Education Opportunity Act of 1974 made it illegal to deny anyone educational opportunities in public schools.

The rebirth of bilingual education in the 1960s is due partly to the Fidel Castro Regime.  Many Cubans fled to Florida and established bilingual schools in Dade County.  Later Federal legislation (Title VII mentioned above) helped establish these schools throughout.