Bilingual education may be the most controversial educational program in the United States. Myth and misunderstanding surround its purpose and actual practice. What many have viewed as an educational program designed to teach Spanish is in fact a strategy to help students learn to read in English more quickly. What English-language development (ELD) teachers must realize is that the debate over the value of bilingual education has grown well beyond academic concerns, and as Proposition 227 has pointed out, the politics of bilingual education makes it a very serious issue indeed. But politics has always been a central feature of bilingual education. Early forms of bilingual education in the United States were common in mid-western communities where German and English were taught side by side. Strategic code-switching can both assist the ELD teacher in learning the language and create a cultural connection with students, provided the language 'mixing' is done carefully.