ABSTRACT Despite some progress, many schools continue to ignore or suppress the linguistic and cultural strengths which minority children bring with them to the classroom. We spend perhaps a billion dollars a year on foreign language instruction for Anglos, yet school policies and state laws have prevented some three million bilingual children from becoming adults fluent and literate in their own native foreign languages. Influential educators have called for a change in teacher attitudes toward minority children, but at the same time they put forward unsubstantiated views concerning the language of such children which are likely to affect teacher attitudes adversely. Mexican-American children enter school with a valuable knowledge of Spanish language and culture, yet their parents are forced to sue the schools to prevent their assignment to classes for the mentally retarded as a penalty for possessing this special knowledge. On the positive side, the Bilingual Education Act may be one sign of a shift toward linguistic and cultural tolerance in the schools.