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Bilingual education can be broadly defined as a program that employs more than one language as the medium of instruction for the curriculum. It may be distinguished from foreign-language or second-language education, in which proficiency in the language is the goal and the curriculum is organized around the attainment of various levels of proficiency in the foreign or second language rather than in the content areas across the curriculum (e.g., math, science, and literacy).

The rationale for delivering instruction bilingually can vary significantly and depends on a wide variety of social, political, and historical circumstances related to the status of the language and its speakers. During periods of ethno-linguistic pride asserted by language minority groups, bilingual education may serve as a symbolic point for the linguistic ...

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