The Bilingual Education Act of 1984: Community Involvement in Policy Development
Perhaps the most significant feature of the Bilingual Education Act of 1984 is the high level of involvement of the Hispanic and other language-minority communities in its development. In a very real sense, the legislation is an illustration of grassroots policy development. Although the actual drafting of legislation was done in Washington DC, coordinated primarily by the National Council of La Raza and the National Association for Bilingual Education at Congressional request, hundreds of people from over the country contributed ideas, reviewed and revised drafts, and otherwise actively participated in policy formulation. The final proposal was the result of consensus among very diverse groups of people. The purpose of this analysis is to provide an account of this process of policy development, and the strength which it brought to the legislation.