Bilingual education is a term that draws strong reactions from those inside and outside the educational system. Here I examine social factors that contribute to the tensions surrounding this debate. The most dramatic conflict can be seen in the contemporary English-only movement and the countervailing English-Plus coalition. Despite the public arguments presented by English-only proponents and shrinking federal and state resources to support bilingual education programs, there has been a growing acceptance of the potential benefits of bilingual services among educational practitioners and researchers. Consequently, conflicting views will continue to characterize public discussion of bilingual education.
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