You may, or may not, have heard that the U.S. Department of Education & U.S. Department of Justice today, with some fanfare, announced “guidance reminding states, school districts and schools of their obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential.”
It all sounds fine, thought, of course, the rubber really meets the road with these kinds of pronouncements when it comes to enforcement. Given that many ELL parents are reticent to complain about education services for a variety of reasons — immigration fears, lack of knowledge of what should be happening, etc. — it’s very unclear to me what, if any, kind of pro-active work the two Departments are going to do. I often feel that these kinds of reports are like calling into Talk Radio — they make the people doing it feel like they are doing something when, in fact, they are not….
That being said, they seem like decent guidelines and we can only hope that Districts will follow them.
Here are places where you can read more about them:
U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Release Joint Guidance to Ensure English Learner Students Have Equal Access to High-Quality Education is the official announcement.
First federal guidance on English learners in quarter century highlights access, communications is from Chalkbeat Colorado and is the most hopeful news piece I’ve read about the new Guidance.
Federal Civil Rights Officials Release Guidance on English-Language Learners is from Education Week.
Obama Administration Reminds Schools That English Language Learners Must Be Treated Equally is from The Huffington Post.
New federal guidelines highlight civil rights of English language learners is from The Washington Post.