The Justice Department Provides Stats on ELL Investigations

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 28, 2010 1 min read
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Since the start of the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Justice has opened more than 15 investigations into services for English-language learners in schools, according to a spokeswoman for the department. One of those investigations is going on in Boston Public Schools, which I learned from reporting for an article about ELLs’ access to services. That story should soon be published at edweek.org.

Currently, the Justice Department is looking into about 30 matters involving services for ELLs in schools, Xochitl Hinojosa, the spokeswoman, told me in an e-mail message. She was responding to a query from me, asking whether the Justice Department is stepping up enforcement of civil rights laws that apply to English-language learners. As I mentioned in a blog post yesterday, the Justice Department enforces the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, which calls for schools to take action to overcome language barriers that hinder English-language learners from getting equal access to a high-quality education.

“Although the EEOA does not have its own guidance, the department takes the position that districts must provide educationally sound ELL programs that are adequately resourced and that enable students to achieve English proficiency so that they can meaningfully participate in educational programs,” Hinojosa said.

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