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Joint guidance to ensure English learner students equal access to education

Published February 2015

On January 7, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice released joint guidance to schools and school districts on ensuring English language learners have equal access to a high-quality education. The guidance comes nearly 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Lau v. Nichols that all students deserve equal access to a high-quality education regardless of their native language or whether they can speak English.

The guidance explains schools’ obligations to identify students, offer language assistance, provide qualified staff, ensure equitable access to programs and activities, avoid segregation, monitor progress, remedy academic deficits, properly exit students, evaluate effectiveness of programs, and communicate with parents in a language they understand.

The press release, joint guidance, and other related documents are available at the following links: