The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have completed a 10-chapter tool kit designed to help public schools ensure that English-language learners have access to a high-quality education.
The tool kit is a companion to joint guidance the departments released in January to remind schools of their federal obligations to the nation’s nearly 5 million English-learners. Their rights have emerged as a significant policy focus for the Education Department as the percentage of ELLs in schools has increased.
John King, a senior adviser to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Vanita Gupta, who leads the Justice Department’s civil rights division in Washington, will announce the tool kit’s completion during a press event Monday at Bruce Monroe Elementary School in the District of Columbia.
The tool kit is “intended primarily for state, district, school administrators, and teachers, but may also inform other stakeholders” interested in English-language learners and bilingual education, the departments say.
“In our country we have a valuable yet untapped resource in our EL student population,” Libia Gil, head of the education department’s office of English-language acquisition, said in a prepared statement. “These students come to school already speaking a variety of home languages. The heritage languages our English Learners bring to school are major assets to preserve and value.”
Included in the tool kit are tools and resources for: identifying English-language learners; delivering quality English-learner programs; evaluating the effectiveness of English-learner programs; preventing unnecessary segregation of English-learners; providing qualified staff; ensuring access to school programs and activities (including disability-related services); exiting English-learners from programs at the appropriate time; monitoring students’ progress; and supporting limited English-proficient parents.
The tool kit is free and accessible to the public and can be downloaded from the education department’s website.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.