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ERIC Number: ED578886
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan-7
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Dear Colleague Letter: English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents
US Department of Justice
Forty years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States 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. Ensuring that SEAs and school districts are equipped with the tools and resources to meet their responsibilities to LEP students, who are now more commonly referred to as English Learner (EL) students or English Language Learner students, is as important today as it was then. EL students are now enrolled in nearly three out of every four public schools in the nation, they constitute nine percent of all public school students, and their numbers are steadily increasing. It is crucial to the future of our nation that these students, and all students, have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) share authority for enforcing Title VI in the education context. The Departments are issuing the enclosed joint guidance to assist SEAs, school districts, and all public schools in meeting their legal obligations to ensure that EL students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs and services. This guidance provides an outline of the legal obligations of SEAs and school districts to EL students under the civil rights laws. Additionally, the guidance discusses compliance issues that frequently arise in OCR and DOJ investigations under Title VI and the EEOA and offers approaches that SEAs and school districts may use to meet their Federal obligations to EL students. The guidance also includes discussion of how SEAs and school districts can implement their Title III grants and subgrants in a manner consistent with these civil rights obligations. Finally, the guidance discusses the Federal obligation to ensure that LEP parents and guardians have meaningful access to district- and school-related information.
US Department of Justice. 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001. Tel: 202-514-2000; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - General; Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Justice, Washington, DC. Civil Rights Div.; Department of Education (ED), Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Civil Rights Act 1964 Title VI; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Rehabilitation Act 1973 (Section 504)
IES Cited: ED577092