Published Online: January 12, 2015
Published in Print: January 14, 2015, as U.S. Civil Rights Officials Release English-Learner Guidance

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U.S. Civil Rights Officials Release English-Learner Guidance

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The U.S. departments of Education and Justice have issued new guidance on the rights of the nation's nearly 5 million English-language learners, reminding public schools of their obligations under federal law to ensure the students have equal access to a high-quality education.

The rights of ELLs have emerged as a significant policy issue for the Education Department as the percentage of such students has increased.

Under the latest guidance, public schools must:

• Identify English-learner students in a timely, valid, and reliable manner, and offer them an educationally sound language-assistance program;

• Provide qualified staff and sufficient resources for teaching English-learners, ensuring ELLs have equitable access to programs and activities;• Avoid unnecessary segregation of English-learners from other students;

• Monitor students' progress in learning English and doing grade-level classwork;

• Remedy any academic deficits ELLs incurred while in a language-assistance program;

• Move students out of language-assistance programs when they are proficient in English and monitor those students to ensure they were not prematurely removed;

• Evaluate the effectiveness of English-learner programs; and

• Give parents with limited English proficiency information about school programs, services, and activities in a language they understand.

Vol. 34, Issue 17, Page 5

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