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Clarification: When Parents Decline English as a Second Language (ESL) Services for English Language Learners
ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: 8
TO: Superintendents of Schools
The purpose of this letter is to clarify the requirements for serving an English Language Learner, even if parents decline ESL services.
Federal law requires that an English Language Learner receives ESL services.
Rights of ELLs
This has been interpreted by courts as requiring a qualified ESL teacher to be provided to English Language Learners to ensure that they are not excluded from participation in meaningful education.
In addition, an Office for Civil Rights Memorandum of 1991 requires a qualified ESL endorsed teacher for English Language Learners, in order that they are not relegated to second-class status by allowing a teacher without formal qualifications to teach them while requiring teachers of non-English Language Learners to meet formal qualifications (See 34 Code of Federal Regulations C.F.R. Section 100.3 (b)(ii)).
If a parent refuses to allow a student to participate in a State assessment, refer to the superintendent’s/SAU’s/school’s policy on procedures to follow when a parent refuses to allow a child to participate in a State assessment. The ACCESS for ELLs® is a federally and state-required annual assessment and participation is a component of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability. Failure of English Language Learners to participate in the annual administration of the ACCESS for ELLs® may affect NCLB Title IA funding. Even if a parent has refused ESL services, if that student has been identified as an English Language Learner, then that student must be administered the ACCESS for ELLs® annually until that student attains the State’s definition of English language proficient, which is defined as a Level 6 Composite score on the ACCESS for ELLs®.
If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Nancy Mullins, Director of ESL/Bilingual Programs, at 207-624-6788 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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