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Programs > ESOL/Title III > Compliance
Legal Precedents
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) explicitly provides in § 1703(d) that "discrimination by an educational agency on the basis of race, color or national origin in the employment of faculty or staff" constitutes a denial of equal educational opportunity.
648 F.2d 989; 1981 U.S. App. LEXIS 12063. June 23, 1981

Students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education.

Lau v. Nichols (1974)
No state shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, by the failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome languages barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs.

Equal Educational Opportunities Act (1974)

According to the ruling in Plyer v. Doe, undocumented students have the right to attend public schools and participate in all school activities. Moreover, school officials are not allowed to require children or their parents to prove that they are in this country legally, through evidence such as green cards, citizenship papers or social security numbers. Nevertheless, many school systems in the country deny access to undocumented students as standard practice -- either due to lack of awareness of the law or for reasons based on prejudice.
(The Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, 2000).

Plyer V. Doe, 1982; Price et al., 1988.

Civil Rights Act of 1964
"No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from partiicpation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to distrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

May 25 Memorandum
"Where inability to speak and understand the English language excludes national origin-minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students.

"School districts must not assign national origin-minority group students to classes for the mentally retarded on the basis of criteria which essentially measure or evaluate English language skills....."

".....nor may school districts deny national origin-minority group children access to college preparatory courses on basis directly related to the failure of the school system to inculcate (teach) English language skills."

"School districts have the responsibility to adequately notify origin-minority group parents of school activities which are called to the attention of other parents. Such notice in order to be adequate may have to be provided in a language other than English."

Lau v. Nichols
Equitable v. Equal-Equality of educational opportunity is not achieved by merely providing all students with "the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education.

Lau Plan
Provides a legal basis for programming
Form/convene a Language Assessment Committee
Outline staff responsibilities and credentials for instruction
Identify assessment/evaluative tools for on-going assessment
Set program criteria (entrance/exit)
Set parameters for ELL student transition and monitoring
Determine program effectiveness

Castaneda v. Pickard
A program for English language learners is based on educational theory that is recognized by experts in the field-research based, pedagogically sound
Relationship between theory and practices
Program produces results that indicate the language barrier is being overcome

Contact Information
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
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