Ensuring Equal Access for All Children to Public Schools, Regardless of Immigration Status
This resource provides links to the U.S. Department of Education website with updated guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools to ensure enrollment processes are consistent with federal law and fulfill their obligation to provide all children with equal access to an education.
Guiding Federal Court Cases on Equal Educational Opportunity
There are several federal court cases that establish the legal foundation for providing equal educational opportunity to students with limited English proficiency, Brown v. Board of Education, Lau v. Nichols, Castaneda v. Pickard, and Plyler v. Doe. A summary of each decision is offered.
Brown v. Board of Education
Lau v. Nichols
Castañeda v. Pickard
Plyler v. Doe
Guiding Federal Laws on Equal Educational Opportunity
The legal foundation for providing equal educational opportunity to students with limited English proficiency is found in three federal laws: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1974, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A summary of each Act is provided.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
IDEA is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities
Legal Obligations Schools Have to English Language Learners
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition summarizes schools’ responsibilities to ensure equal access education to ELLs.
Legal Rights of Students With Disabilities
Three Federal laws address the obligations of all public schools to meet the communication needs of students with disabilities, but do so in different ways:
- IDEA requires that schools make available a free appropriate public education (FAPE), consisting of special education and related services, to all eligible children with disabilities (including those with disabilities that result in communication needs);
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II) requires schools to ensure that students with disabilities receive communication that is as effective as communication with others through the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services; and
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) prohibits discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal Assistance, based on disability.
Meaningful Access for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) in the School Meal Programs:
This document provides Guidance, Questions, and Answers about the rights of ELL students in the School Meal Programs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
Protecting Students With Disabilities - 504 FAQ
This document is a revised version of a document originally developed by the Chicago Office of the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to clarify the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504) in the area of public elementary and secondary education. The primary purpose of these revisions is to incorporate information about the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (Amendments Act), effective January 1, 2009, which amended the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and included a conforming amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that affects the meaning of disability in Section 504.
Title IX and Sex Discrimination
This U.S. Department of Education website references Title IX and Sex Discrimination which states that no person in the U.S. shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Types of Educational Opportunities Discrimination
This U.S. Department of Justice website offers a description of different types of educational discrimination.
Schools' Civil Rights Obligations to ELL Students and Limited English Proficiency Parents
This Department of Education website provides ELL resources and explains schools have the obligation not to discriminate based on race, color, or national origin requires public schools to take affirmative steps to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) students, now more commonly known as known as English Language Learner (ELL) students or English Language Learners (ELLs), can meaningfully participate in educational programs and services, and to communicate information to LEP parents in a language they can understand.
The following materials include information for students and parents, OCR guidance and resources for education officials about their obligations to ELL students and LEP parents, and added resources with related information.