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Latino Daily News

Sunday March 27, 2011

Dept of Justice and Education Reach Settlement with AZ to Ensure English Learners Get Services

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights today entered into a settlement agreement with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to ensure that Arizona’s English Language Learner (ELL) students receive the educational services that they need. 

“Proper identification of ELLs is the essential first step in ensuring that students receive the services they need to help them overcome language barriers and participate equally in the instructional process,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

Since July 1, 2009, ADE has allowed only a one-question HLS that asks, “What is the primary language of the student?”  If a student answered English to this one question, ADE prohibited school districts from assessing the student’s English language proficiency unless and until a teacher documented specific language problems on a form prescribed by ADE, and met with the parents in person to obtain their permission to assess the student. 
 
The settlement agreement will ensure that all ELL students who attend Arizona public schools will be identified and served in a timely manner.