English Learner Tool Kit for State and Local Education Agencies (SEAs and LEAs)

This toolkit was released in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Dear Colleague Letter on “English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents." The toolkit was initially published in conjunction with the January 2015 Dear Colleague Letter to help state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) meet their obligations under federal law to ensure that English Learners have equal access to a high-quality education that is both aligned to college- and career-readiness standards and supports student attainment of English language proficiency. The toolkit was updated in November 2016 to reflect amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) made by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). 

The toolkit addresses compliance issues that frequently arise in OCR and DOJ investigations under Title VI and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act. For SEAs and school districts implementing their Title III grants and subgrants, this toolkit is a useful resource for ensuring this process occurs in a manner that is consistent with civil rights obligations. Finally, the toolkit offers guidance for ensuring that parents and guardians of English learners have meaningful access to district and school-related information. 

Each of the 10 chapters of the English Learner Toolkit provides information about civil rights and legal obligations related to English Learners and checklists, tools, guiding questions, and examples to help SEAs, LEAs, and schools self-monitor and ensure compliance. The individual chapters offer resources and information to assist with the process developing, staffing, supporting, monitoring, and evaluating English Learner programs. The English Learner Toolkit is intended primarily for state, district, school administrators, and teachers, but may also inform other stakeholders concerned with the education of English Learners. 

 

Content Comments 

This toolkit is very accessible and the resources it offers have many practical applications for designing and implementing effective English learner programs. Every chapter offers assistance and guidance to help SEAs, LEAs, and schools ensure they are providing a high quality education for and meeting the needs of English learners. This guidance comes in the form of research-based principles and resources; reusable, multilingual survey templates; professional development and evaluation checklists and guiding questions; self-assessment and monitoring forms; and data guides for using platforms such as the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). By gathering all of these resources into one guidance document and offering references to other helpful documents and sources, this toolkit offers a helpful starting point for SEAs, LEAs, and schools to ensure their English learner programs are effective in addressing the needs of English learners and comply with legal obligations to English learners. To download individual chapters, or to download translations of the introduction (in Spanish, Chinese, etc.), please visit the tool kit's webpage.