Currently, restrictive-language policies seem to threaten bilingual education throughout the USA. Anti-bilingual education initiatives have passed easily in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts, while one was closely defeated in Colorado, and federal education policy has re-invigorated the focus on English education for English language learners, while concomitantly obfuscating the possibility of native language maintenance and developmental bilingual education. This is the educational landscape within which bilingual education researchers, educators, and students must face the formidable challenge of preserving educational choice and bilingual education. Thus, substantive research is needed on how bilingual educators navigate this challenging ideological and policy landscape. Based on an ethnographic study of bilingual education language policy, this article takes up this challenge by focusing on how beliefs about Applied Linguistics research influence the interpretation and appropriation of federal language policy in one US school district. The results have implications for the relationship between the Applied Linguistic research community and language policy processes.