Education

Pa. District Agrees to Improve Services for English-Learners

By Alyssa Morones — April 11, 2014 2 min read

By guest blogger Alyssa Morones

Another district, this time in Pennsylvania, has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights to provide more equitable educational opportunities for its English-language learner student population, after an investigation found that the district was failing to meet these students’ needs.

After an investigation, the office for civil rights found that the Hazleton, Pa., school district was in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

The 11,000-student Hazleton district experienced a boom in its ELL student population in recent years, which grew from around 100 students in 2000 to 1,280 in 2013.

The federal investigators found that the district was inadequately identifying students who may need English-language-development programs, which were already understaffed. Some ELL students were inappropriately excused from English-learner programs and the district did not provide the required instructional time for over 240 elementary students who were enrolled in these programs.

The district also was not evaluating these programs to determine their effectiveness, nor were school officials effectively communicating with English-limited parents.

Under the agreement, the district will make steps to rectify these conditions. These include:


  • Ensuring that students whose primary language at home is not English will be assessed on their English proficiency to determine if they should be placed in an ELL program;
  • Assessing improper exemption of students from assessment to determine if they should receive any language-development services;
  • Conducting comprehensive evaluations of ELL programs at each school to determine their effectiveness and modifying them to meet the district’s goals;
  • Developing and implementing policies to ensure that parents not proficient in English are notified in a language they understand of any school activities that other parents are notified of.

This OCR agreement comes just after another agreement with a New Hampshire district, in which the district agreed to make changes to combat discriminatory practices that excluded English-language learners and minority students from higher-level courses.

As that blog also mentioned, these agreements come after the OCR’s most recent data release revealing the extent of disparities in educational services for English-language learners and others nationwide.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read