Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Richard C. Fording


In this study, I examine the factors that influence school districts’ commitment to implement ESL (English as a Second Language) education in compliance with the federal Bilingual Education Act of 1968. To explain variation in implementation effort, I focus on several features of the local implementation environment, including the role of Latino descriptive representation. Utilizing data on all public school districts in Texas, I employ a Heckman two-stage estimation procedure that accounts for factors that influence school districts’ decisions to implement bilingual education programs as well as factors that affect the amount of resources school districts are willing to allocate towards bilingual education. The results indicate that Latino school board and teacher representation play a positive and statistically significant role in determining: 1) whether school districts implement bilingual education programs; and 2) the level of expenditures and teacher positions allocated towards bilingual education. Thus, policy implementation outcomes translate into substantive representation.