U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans - Link to ED.gov Home Page

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Programs for English Language Learners

Title Page
Table of Contents
   About MaterialsAbout Materials
   Legal BackgroundLegal Background
      First PrincipleFirst Principle
      Second PrincipleSecond Principle
      Third PrincipleThird Principle
Developing a Program
Program Evaluation
Other Resources
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First Principle:
Selecting the Educational Approach

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It is the prerogative of each district to select a specific educational approach to meet the needs of its particular ELL student population. A district may use any educational approach that is recognized as sound by some experts in the field, or an approach that is recognized as a legitimate educational strategy.

Regardless of the educational approach selected by the district, in assessing compliance with Title VI a twofold inquiry applies: (1) whether the approach provides for English language development; and (2) whether the approach provides for meaningful participation of ELL students in the district's educational program. OCR encourages districts to develop their own specific program goals. Whether or not such goals are formally developed, OCR requires the program to meet the twofold requirements of Title VI.

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, 1974

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