Despite the rapid increase in enrollment of students who speak a language other than English at home, little prior research examines the resources required to implemented instructional programs for emergent bilinguals and whether school districts receive adequate funding for these programs. This policy brief (a) synthesizes research on implementation of bilingual education, (b) describes research on the cost of bilingual education programs, and (c) reports the findings of a study showing that bilingual education programs are severely underfunding in Texas and nationally.
The brief offers recommendations for local and state policymakers. School leaders can use bilingual education models to support more inclusive learning environments. District administrators can improve implementation of bilingual education by mobilizing key stakeholders within their local context. Finally, state policymakers should consider: (a) increasing funding weights associated with English language learner (ELL) students; and (b) providing start-up funds for districts implementing new instructional models for ELLs.