New Guidance Issued Regarding English Language Learners in the U.S.

Yesterday the Obama Administration released an important set of federal guidelines for educating the approximately 5 million English language learners in the United States. Under the 1974 Supreme Court ruling Lau v. Nichols, schools are required to provide equal access to high-quality education to all students regardless of a child’s native language.  The guidance issued yesterday is meant to serve as a reminder that non-native English students are entitled to the same educational opportunities as English speakers. Under the guidance, schools are obligated to identify English learners in a timely and reliable manner, provide qualified and sufficient staff to instruct English learners, and engage parents with information about their child’s education in a language they will best understand, among other provisions.  This action by the Administration will help ensure that all students, regardless of whether English is their first language, have access to the opportunities that a solid education provides.