Since the 1980s, Hispanics have been the fastest growing minority in the United States and have been moving into rural, Southern areas where there have previously not been populations of Hispanics. Studies of these demographic changes have concentrated on how communities impacted by the influx of Hispanics have created or adjusted socioeconomic and political infrastructures to accommodate the linguistic and cultural needs of the Hispanic population. The public-school system is a sociopolitical structure that has affected and has been affected by the increase in Hispanics. Whereas the modern Civil Rights movement had created legal precedence for students' language rights and led to the creation of the federal Bilingual Education Act of 1968, nationalist backlash to this rise in Hispanic immigrants led to the eventual defunding of federal bilingual education programs by the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. This thesis is a policy history of Hispanic growth in the public-school systems in Orange, Lake and Osceola counties in Florida from 1980 to 2010. During that time, the three counties grew and diversified at different rates and made decisions for their English for Speakers of Other Languages programs that correlated with the size of their Hispanic population. This time frame encompasses Osceola's fastest period of growth which led to the creation of the Florida Consent Decree, Florida public schools' framework for remaining compliant with federal and state language policies. Even though federal funds for English acquisition programs replaced funds for bilingual or native language instruction during this time, Hispanic and non-Hispanic teachers, administrators, community or activist groups and parents continued to exert agency in gaining culturally inclusive and linguistically affirming language instruction programs for their children.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
History; Public History
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Hazen, Kendra, "Central Florida School Districts' Responses to Hispanic Growth, 1980-2010" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6501.