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ERIC Number: EJ990975
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0146-9282
English Language Learners and Judicial Oversight: Progeny of "Castaneda"
Sutton, Lenford C.; Cornelius, Luke; McDonald-Gordon, Robyn
Educational Considerations, v39 n2 p30-37 Spr 2012
When the 93rd Congress enacted the Equal Education Opportunity Act of 1974 (EEOA), it required states to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that inhibited equal education participation by their resident students. An examination of the EEOA legislative testimony suggests elected officials established the law to set forth provisions to secure the legal rights of English Language Learners (ELLs). In 1981, the Fifth Circuit Court in "Castaneda v. Pickard" created a three-pronged, science-based test that required English language assistance programs for ELLs to: (1) be based on sound educational theory; (2) have adequate resources for program implementation; and (3) provide continuous assessment to determine if students' English language deficits are being addressed. From 1996 to 2006, while the total U.S. school population increased by slightly less than 3%, the ELL population increased more than 60%. Given the exponential increase in the number of students enrolled in English language acquisition programs and the education spending priorities required in the aftermath of the global economic recession in 2008, an examination of the state of education provisions for ELLs is appropriate. Moreover, 30 years have passed since the federal court issued the "Castaneda" three-part test as a mechanism to assess the probative value of instructional programs earmarked for ELLs. Therefore, a review of judicial declarations since these principles were established is warranted. Accordingly, this article is divided into four sections. The first section provides an overview of case law and federal statutes which set forth provision for ELLs. This section also reviews civil challenges which asked the courts to interpret the "sound educational theory" tenet of the "Castaneda" test over the last three decades. The second section reviews the United States Supreme Court's most recent ruling "Horne v. Flores" and "Rufo v. Suffolk County," a leading case which illustrates the pragmatics of Rule 60 (b) (5) of the "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure" as applied in "Horne." The third section contains a brief description of state funding for ELL programs. The final section of the article discusses implications of the high court's decision to set aside court-imposed sanctions on Arizona lawmakers, remanding the case back to its original jurisdiction; and what this decision means for the future of language acquisition programs three decades after "Castaneda." (Contains 1 table and 50 endnotes.)
Kansas State University, College of Education. 1100 Mid-Campus Drive, 006 Bluemont Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506. Tel: 785-532-5525; Fax: 785-532-7304; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Equal Educational Opportunities Act 1974