Office for Civil Rights Annual Report to Congress FY 2003

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Moving English Language Learners to English Proficiency

One of the key strategies in No Child Left Behind is to ensure that English language learner (ELL) students meet rigorous standards. The OCR enforcement offices are working with districts to help them develop evaluation plans to ensure that language acquisition programs are research-based and that ELL students are meeting performance standards. OCR monitors implementation of resolution agreements to ensure that districts conduct effective program evaluations and measure the progress of ELL students.

"I want to commend you for your efforts over the past three years…I have been very gratified by the results you have gotten at [the school]. You have eased my mind tremendously. I feel that the [English language learner] students are being educated and supported as they have never been before… You have done something miraculous for everyone in that school."

November 26, 2003, letter
from complainant after OCR completed
case monitoring activities

As a part of its April 2003 nationwide compliance initiative on misidentification of minorities in special education, OCR also focused on ensuring that national origin minority students are not referred for evaluation or placed in special education programs on the basis of their limited English proficiency. Special education programs are essential to ensure that language minority students with disabilities receive an appropriate educational experience. However, studies have documented discrepancies in the levels of referral and placement of ELL students in special education. Where violations of the law are found, OCR will work with districts to develop resolution agreements, including a technical assistance component that emphasizes reaching out to parents of language minority students so that they are better able to make sound educational choices concerning their children’s schooling

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Last Modified: 09/25/2018