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Rights versus Reality: The Gap between Civil Rights and English Learners’ High School Educational Opportunities


by Dafney Blanca Dabach & Rebecca M. Callahan — October 07, 2011

Nearly forty years after a landmark Supreme Court decision (Lau v. Nichols) and thirty years after a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case (Castañeda v. Pickard) concerning the educational rights of English learners (ELs), the authors argue that the essence of these rulings have yet to be systematically realized. Drawing on evidence from their research, the authors highlight the gaps between ideals and realities that secondary language minority youth face in securing educational opportunities. The authors also raise questions about theory, implementation, and evaluation in EL programs and students’ rights to a full academic curriculum.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 07, 2011
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16558, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 7:39:38 AM

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About the Author
  • Dafney Blanca Dabach
    University of Washington
    E-mail Author
    DAFNEY BLANCA DABACH is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on the adaptation of host society institutions to immigrant populations, the nature of immigrant integration in secondary school settings, and teachers' work with immigrant-origin youth. Dabach's research reported in this article won the 2011 AERA Bilingual Education Research SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award.
  • Rebecca M. Callahan
    University of Texas, Austin
    E-mail Author
    REBECCA M. CALLAHAN is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research focuses on educational and social experiences of immigrant youth in US high schools, and in their transition to young adulthood. Callahan was awarded the 2011 AERA Bilingual Education Research SIG Early Career Award, in part for the research reported in this article.
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