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LARC Home Page The U.S. Supreme Court stated in Lau v. Nichols (1974):

"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." Link to the Case

This section describes Federal and State obligations to provide bilingual education for LEP students receiving education and special services.

Federal Protections                                                                   

The Federal basis for the right to bilingual education is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI, Section 601, of the Act prohibits school districts receiving federal funds from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Section 602 of the Act authorized the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to issue regulations so that federal aid recipients complied with Section 601.

In 1968, HEW issued guidelines that required districts receiving federal funds to ensure that students of a particular race or national origin were not denied opportunity to receive the curricula, classes and activities obtained by other students. In 1970, HEW issued a memorandum that made the guidelines more specific, requiring districts to:

  1. take affirmative steps to rectify language deficiencies of these students;
  2. refrain from assigning these students to classes for the mentally handicapped on the basis of criteria which reflected their English language skills;
  3. insure that any ability grouping designed to meet these students’ language skills did not result in permanent tracks; and
  4. notify the parents of school activities in a language that they understood.

Title VI and the guidelines apply to all LEP students, including those with disabilities. This section was taken from the following article available at this link.

The Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1974 (EEOA) requires states “to ensure that needs of students with limited English language proficiency are addressed,” by requiring them to remove barriers to equal participation in educational programs now rather than later, and it provides students with a right of action to enable them to enforce their rights, 20 U.S.C. § 1706. Flores v. Arizona, 516 F.3d 1140,1173 (9th Cir., 2008), (Link to Case) quoting Idaho Migrant Council v. Bd. of Educ., 647 F.2d 69, 71 (9th Cir.1981).

Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), states, districts, and schools have two sets of responsibilities for students with limited English proficiency. They are responsible for ensuring that these students make progress in learning English under Title III and that they become proficient in language arts and mathematics under Title I.

Beginning with the 2004-2005 school year, The Department of Education is required to annually review whether states have made adequate yearly progress (as defined by the state) for each of the student groups and have met their objectives for increasing the number or percentage of students who become proficient in English. See a copy of the report here and in the resources below.

New York Protections                                                              4

The New York Department of Education regulations describe the obligation of public schools to provide bilingual education instruction for LEP students. See Part 117 and 154 below. Other regulations also provide that testing materials used to assess whether students should be enrolled in special education programs must not be racially or culturally biased, and for LEP students, these materials must measure the student’s true abilities rather than measuring their English skills. See 8 NYCRR 2004.4. 

Federal Resources                                                                          

Federal Department of Education (DOE)

National Studies on LEP Educational and Special Education Issues

State Resources                                                                                 

New York State Department of Education

Other Resources                                                                                    

Guides and Manuals

Other Websites

Frequently Asked Questions
Federal LEP
Title VI
Executive Order 13166
DOJ LEP Guidance
Federal Agency Guidance
LEP Topics
Court Access
Domestic Violence
Employment /Unemployment
Food Stamp Program
Health Care Services
Law Enforcement
Legal Services and Attorneys
Public Housing
Social Security
LEP Statistics
Census Data
Other Group Data
Resources and Training
Language Access Guides
Language Access Training
Model LEP Plans
New York Resources

Last Updated: August  11, 2008 ● Empire Justice Center © 2008