Legal Obligations for Serving English Learners
Office for Civil Rights English Learners Guide
These materials were developed by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in response to requests from school districts for a reference tool to assist them through the process of developing a comprehensive English language proficiency or English language learners (ELL) program. These materials discuss helpful steps to follow in designing or revising a program. These materials are intended as a resource for district use, not a statement of specific new legal requirements.
Plyler Letter-Children’s Right to Attend School Resources
Under federal law, state and local educational agencies (hereinafter “districts”) are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level. Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene federal law. Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education write to remind you of the federal obligation to provide equal educational opportunities to all children residing within your district and to offer our assistance in ensuring that you comply with the law.
Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School: Questions and Answers for States, School Districts and Parents
These Questions and Answers are intended to assist states and school districts in meeting their legal obligations to ensure that their enrollment policies and practices at the elementary and secondary school levels do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and do not bar or discourage students’ enrollment in elementary and secondary school based on their or their parents’ actual or perceived immigration status. The Justice Department and the Education Department encourage states and districts to proactively implement supportive enrollment policies and practices that create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.
Dear Colleague Letter dated January 7, 2015
Forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court determined that in order for public schools to comply with their legal obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), they must take affirmative steps to ensure that students with limited English proficiency (LEP) can meaningfully participate in their educational programs and services. That same year, Congress enacted the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA), which confirmed that public schools and state educational agencies (SEAs) must act to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by students in their instructional programs.
Fact Sheet for Serving English Learners
English learner (EL) students constitute nine percent of all public school students and are enrolled in nearly three out of every four public schools. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA), public schools must ensure that EL students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs.
Fact Sheet for Meeting Needs of LEP Parents
This document provides information for limited English proficient (LEP) parents and guardians and for schools and school districts that communicate with them. This fact sheet answers common questions about the rights of parents and guardians who do not speak, listen, read, or write English proficiently because it is not their primary language.
ParentNotices is your resource for parent engagement compliance in your school district. Your subscription gives you access to parent engagement guidance, as well as expertly written forms or notices that are required by your district, state or the federal government. The notices are already translated into your priority languages by certified translators.
Collaborating with Spoken Language Interpreters and Translators: A Primer for School LeadersBilingual school personnel and trained interpreters and translators play an essential role in strengthening home-school connections. These individuals ensure that language access services are provided to emergent bilingual students and families in a school district, as well as parents or guardians who are in contact with school for the first time to get information about registration, and caregivers who are designated to drop off/pick up a student or as emergency contact. This guide will provide school leaders with research-based knowledge and resources related to language access, qualifications of interpreters and translators, and sustainable options to ensure equity in communication.
For more information, please contact:
- Office for Civil Rights English Learners Guide
- Collaborating with Spoken Language Interpreters and Translators: A Primer for School Leaders
- Plyler Letter-Children’s Right to Attend School
- Information on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in School: Questions and Answers for States, School Districts and Parents
- Dear Colleague Letter dated January 7, 2015
- Fact Sheet for Serving English Learners
- Fact Sheet for Meeting Needs of LEP Parents