English learners in U.S. schools have had a profound impact on policies that determine the method of instruction toward academic achievement and English proficiency. The methods for educating English learners have proven to be complex. The key issues concerning the education of English learners include language policy and how it impacts instructional pedagogy, student outcomes and school accountability (Espinoza & Ochoa, 1992; Gándara et al., 2003; Gay, 2000; Hakuta, 1995, Nieto, 2001, 2002, 2003; Rumberger & Gándara, 2004; Sleeter, 2005). The research question addressed in this dissertation asks: How is language policy used by California public schools to address the spirit of state and federal language mandates while providing educational access to English learners? Federal court cases Lau vs. Nichols (1974) and Castañeda vs. Pickard (1981), California state Proposition 227 (1997), and the federal education policy that mandates accountability based performance measure, No Child Left Behind (2001), inform the policy aspect of this research. This study examined how California public schools have provided educational access to English learners in relation to pedagogy, student outcomes, and school accountability. The pedagogical elements examined included the teacher's value for students, curriculum, and instruction, along with students' language and achievement outcomes. A case study approach (Yin, 2003) of five California schools was implemented to examine how schools provide educational access to English learners. The selected schools in this study implemented distinct instructional language and had varying school achievement levels. Classroom observations, focus groups, interviews, and trend data analysis were used to conduct a comparative analysis of the case studies results. Triangulated approaches were used to verify and support the patterns and trends in the findings. This study found that (1) NCLB influenced the enactment of subtractive biliteracy language policy, (2) rigorous primary language instruction did not prevent students from reaching English proficiency, and (3) schools with high English learners' English achievement levels created classroom conditions for critical student engagement. The significance of this study was to contribute to the understanding of effective language policies and educational pedagogy to further improve the conditions and practices that positively impact educational access for English learners.