1 What Every School Leader Should Know About the Legal Requirements for English Language Learners Presented By:Alphie Paternostro, Supervisor, LindenMaria Romero, Supervisor, CarteretDavid Nash, Esq., Director of Legal Education, FEA
2 Objectives Participants will gain an understanding of legal requirements under state and federal law related to:Identification and Registration of ELL StudentsParental RightsProgram Requirements, Triggers and WaiversAccountabilityAddressing Students with Multiple NeedsStudent Exiting, Reentry, Movement in and Out of District
3 Sources of Law U.S. and New Jersey Constitutions Title III State and Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws(e.g., NJ Law Against Discrimination, Title VI)New Jersey Statute and CodeN.J.S.A. 18A:35-15 to 26N.J.A.C. 6A:15State and Federal Case Law
4 Key Cases on ELLLau v. Nichols – involved Title VI, Chinese students in San Francisco schoolsPlyler v. Doe – Involved questions on citizenshipB.A. and J.H. v. Board of Ed. of Somerville (2009)New Jersey case on student who graduated in another country, right to education in NJOCR settlement – Los Angeles School Dist.Involved disparate impact, lesser percentage of ELL and African American students in advanced classes, lesser access to best teachers
5 USDOE Office for Civil Rights First proactive civil rights enforcement action taken by Obama AdministrationAddressed disparities in educational opportunities for English Language Learners and African-American studentsCritical of underenrollment of ELL students in challenging courses, lack of access to effective teachersRequires district to develop, implement, monitor plan to strengthen delivery of instruction and increase participation in challenging courses
6 Potential Impact of OCR Case Sends powerful signal that USDOE is not sitting back, waiting for complaintsIndicates OCR not focused solely on purposeful, overt discriminationForces ALL school districts to ask difficult questions about current participation of ELL students in all aspects of district’s educational programShould focus districts on developing plans to improve high end outcomes, NOT just focus on meeting minimum state standards
7 Discussion QuestionWhat is your district’s current level of participation of ELL students in challenging courses (AP, honors, G & T, college prep)?What about current involvement in extra- curricular activities, clubs, etc.?What steps can you take to improve these levels?
8 Identification Screening Process - Home Language Survey Must include date of initial entry to U.S.Use of multiple criteria for determining initial eligibility for servicesIdentification of Eligible Preschool Students for accountability purposes (linked to student count for Title III funds)N.J.A.C. 6A:15 – 1.3
9 Registration Cannot request information on citizenship - Plyler v. Doe Cannot request social security number, income tax returnsCannot demand any single form of proof of residency, must consider any evidence providedAddressing Students from Other StatesAddressing Students from Other CountriesSee N.J.A.C. 6A:22
10 Dangers in Current Registration Processes Often times process is largely unregulated in local districtsMay depend on the whims of the secretary in main officeMay indicate inadvertent support for discriminatory practices if left uncheckedCannot decide student is ineligible simply because student has a diploma from another case. Need case by case analysis – See Somerville caseHowever, we must honor high school diploma for student from another state in U.S.
11 Program Requirements/Triggers Must establish bilingual education program when enrollment of LEP student reaches 20 or more in districtESL program – 10 or more ELL students in districtEnglish Language Services – Between 1 and 9 ELL students enrolled in district
12 District Waivers See N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.5 May request waiver from requirement for bilingual education program.Must demonstrate would be impractical due to:Age rangeGrade spanGeographic location
13 Addressing Students with Multiple Needs Districts have legal obligation to address special education needs of ELL studentsCritical to determine if academic difficulties are related to language proficiency, lack of literacy in native language and/or learning disability
14 Parental RightsRight to refuse student participation in bilingual programRight to remove student from bilingual programNeed county approval to remove midyearRight to parental involvement in development and review of programMandatory parent advisory committeeRight to notifications in native language
15 Parental Notice Initial identification as eligible for enrollment Must include notice of right to declineMust be in writing in native language and in EnglishNotices provided to all other parents regarding their child’s academic progress and rights regarding student safety and disciplineNotice that student should exit program based on appropriate exit criteria
16 Title IIIPurpose is to help ensure that LEP students attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic achievement and meet same academic standards as all students are expected to meetEstablishes standards (WIDA), assessments (ACCESS) and accountability requirements (AMAO)Provides federal funds targeted toIncreasing English language proficiencyProviding professional development
17 AMAO Issue Student enrolls in PreK in district Primary language spoken in home is not EnglishFor purposes of accountability under Title III (Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives) does the student’s time in preK count?Answer – It DependsIf district is receiving Title III funds for student, then time counts for AMAO
18 Exiting Program See N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.3(c) Criteria for Exiting Results of English language proficiency testAssessing the level of reading in EnglishReviewing previous academic performance of studentsStandardized test results in EnglishInput of teaching staff members
19 Entitled to Same Protections as all other students Teen Dating Violence ActNew Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of RightsProtected characteristics include national origin, ancestryCatch all other distinguishing characteristics would include English language proficiency
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