Date of Award

Spring 1995

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Robert Ribble

Second Advisor

Not legible

Third Advisor

Patricia Baker


Bilingual education has been an element of American life since the seventeenth century, though it has often been the target of nativist ire. With the present political movement for “English Only” education programs, the value of bilingual education is being challenged, often by officials unfamiliar with the challenges and obstacles faced by recipients of bilingual education. This thesis examines the merits of bilingual education nationwide as well as within the Syracuse City School District and includes an exploration of the opposition to the program. To determine the strength of bilingual programs, the academic achievements of Latino kindergarten students in the bilingual program are statistically compared to Latino kindergarten students who only had an English as Second Language (ESL) program. The author found that the bilingual group performed just as well as the ESL group on the kindergarten developmental test. However, as students progress and concepts become more abstract, ESL students begin to lack the sufficient amount of language necessary to fully conceptualize the subject matter whereas bilingual education provides higher levels of cognitive and linguistic development over time. Furthermore, bilingual programs empower students by validating their language and culture in a school environment. The author argues that the Syracuse City School District should continue to provide bilingual education to the Latinx population.