1 SPEAK UP! Rights of English Language Learners Presented by: Advocates for Justice and Education (AJE) The District of Columbia Parent Training and Information Center
2 Between 1979 and 2008, the number of school-age children (ages 5-17) who spoke a language other than English at home increased from 3.8 to 10.9 million! These children now make up 21 % of the population for this age range!
3 The United States Supreme Court: There is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education. - Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563 (1974)
4 What does ELL or LEP mean???
5 ELL = English Language Learner LEP = Limited English Proficiency These terms are often used interchangeably
6 The Definition A limited English proficiency student is: Aged 3-21 Enrolled or preparing to enroll in elementary or secondary school Whose native language is not English Whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding English may be sufficient to deny the student the ability to succeed in school or participate in society
7 Protections and Services for Students and Parents in Schools Fall Into Two Categories: ELL/LEP Programs Language Access
8 ELL/LEP Programs: The Right to Bilingual Education The right to bilingual education is protected by: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1973
9 ELL/LEP Programs: Federal Law Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in public schools and students placed in private schools by the public school system EEOA prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity based on race, color, sex or national origin
10 What does this mean for ELL students? Schools must take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation and must rectify the language deficiency of limited English proficiency students through remedial or supplemental instruction.
11 So what is appropriate action?? Programs to educate LEP students must be: 1. Based on sound educational theory; Must (a) provide for English language development and (b) provide for meaningful participation of ELL students in the district s educational program 2. Adequately supported so that the program has a realistic chance of success; and 3. Periodically evaluated and, if necessary, revised.
12 ELL/LEP Programs: The Right to Bilingual Education ELL programs should not separate ELL students beyond the extent necessary to achieve the goals of the district s program of services. ELL students should be provided services in comparable facilities to those in which non- ELL students receive services.
13 ELL/LEP Programs: The Right to Bilingual Education The district s ELL program must address ALL AREAS of deficiency!
14 ELL/LEP Programs: The Right to Bilingual Education Example: Maria, an English language learner, has become proficient in English (hurray!) does the school have to provide any further remedial assistance?
15 ELL/LEP Programs: The Right to Bilingual Education YES! Once ELL students become English-proficient, schools retain an obligation to provide assistance necessary to remedy academic deficits that may have occurred in other subjects while the student was focused on learning English.
16 ELL/LEP Programs in DCPS Every parent enrolling a child in DCPS must complete a home language survey If the survey indicates the child might qualify for ELL services, DCPS will test the child s English proficiency
17 I think my child should be tested who do I call? Office of Bilingual Education, 1200 S Street NW, (202) Office Hours: 7:30 am 5 pm Intake and Assessment Center: (202)
18 ELL/LEP Programs in DCPS Based on how the student does on this English proficiency test, the student will be enrolled in an ELL program. Parents/guardians must be given information in their native language to help them decide which program best fits the student s needs.
19 What about ELL programs in charter schools? Public charter schools must provide ELL services because they receive public money. Ask your school about their ELL services and how those services can be provided to your child
20 ELL/LEP Programs in DCPS DCPS will test the ELL student annually to determine whether they have achieve proficiency sufficient to exit the ELL program. By law, ELL students should not be exited until they can meaningfully participate in education (and keep up with non-ell peers!).
21 What are the rights of parents? Parents can opt to not have their children enrolled in an ELL program. When a parent declines participation, the district still retains a responsibility to ensure that the student has an equal opportunity to have his or her English language and academic needs met.
22 Language Access The right to educational information in a language the parent/guardian can understand is protected under a number of laws: DC Language Access Act No Child Left Behind DC Municipal Regulations IDEA
23 Language Access: DC Language Access Act DC Language Access Act requires certain DC government programs, departments and services with major public contact (including DCPS) to provide translations of vital documents into any non- English language spoken by 3% (or 500 individuals) of the population served.
24 Language Access: DC Language Access Act Since 1997, DCPS has provided translation services for vital documents and interpretation services to parents in the top 5 languages (plus interpretation in other languages as needed): Spanish Chinese Vietnamese French Amharic
25 Language Access: DC Language Access Act DCPS posts these translated documents online at: e+assistance
26 Language Access: DC Language Access Act Translated DCPS documents include: Immunization requirements Instructions for applying for free and reduced meal Pre-school information After school enrollment information
27 BUT I don t see the information I want translated! I don t have a computer! Call the DCPS Office of Bilingual Education, Language Access Coordinator at (202)
28 Language Access: No Child Left Behind Title 1, Section 1118 on Parental Involvement: Information relating to school and parent programs, meetings, and other activities must be sent to parents in a language the parents can understand (if practicable) LEAs and schools must provide full opportunities for participation of LEP parents, including providing information and school reports in a format and language such parents can understand (if practicable)
29 Language Access: DC Municipal Regulations Title 5, Section mandates regular, two-way, meaningful communication between home and school, and requires parents to be full partners in educational decisions that affect children and families
30 Language Access: DC Municipal Regulations Title 5, Section requires that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) provide information and communicate with parents/ guardians of LEP students in their home language (whenever reasonably practicable)
31 Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act IDEIA requires that important documents and information be conveyed in an LEP parent or student s native language Native language means: the language normally used by the parents or child in the home or learning environment.
32 What can you get in your native language? Parents can ask for procedural safeguards, prior written notice, or any other important document necessary to informing their consent translated into their native language Parents can ask for IEP meetings to be translated
33 Consent Consent under IDEA is defined as meaning that the parent has been fully informed of all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought, in his or her native language, or other mode of communication. Therefore, any time consent is sought from the parent, information necessary to provide that consent must be provided in the parent s native language.
34 What are the rights of LEP students with respect to special education? IEP: The IEP team must consider the language needs of the LEP student in developing the IEP Evaluations: Schools must ensure that assessments and other evaluations materials used to assess a child are provided and administered in the child s native language and in the form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do (unless it is clearly not feasible to do so)
35 Language Access: IDEIA Example: You are invited to a meeting at the school to discuss possibly evaluating your child for special education services. What should you ask for?
36 Language Access IDEIA 1. That a neutral interpreter interpret the meeting 2. That any documents that require your consent or signature be provided in your native language 3. That the team discuss whether evaluations should be conducted in the child s native language
37 Who to call? If you suspect that your child s school is not meeting the needs of LEP students as required by federal law, you can contact: Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education - (202) Office of Human Rights, District of Columbia (202)
38 For more Information: Advocates for Justice and Education, Inc. 25 E Street, NW (near Union Station) Office: (202) Website: Hours: M F; 9am to 5pm Mary s Center 3912 Georgia Ave. NW Hours: Tuesday & Thursday; 9am to 3pm The contents of this presentation were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
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