Federal & State Laws
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin. In addition, the following Federal and State mandates direct school districts to ensure that limited English proficient and immigrant students participate meaningfully in district educational programs by having access to meaningful core content AND English language instruction.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Title VI prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. Equal educational opportunities are guaranteed for all.
Title III of No Child Left Behind: Requires school districts to notify parents about ELL/Bilingual services provided, and inform parents of student progress and program options. In addition, it requires annual assessment of language proficiency. Funds are provided to implement requirements and may be used to provide supplemental services for ELL/Bilingual services.
Lau v. Nichols, 1974: In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that identical education does not constitute equal education under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court ruled that the district must take affirmative steps to overcome educational barriers faced by the non-English speaking Chinese students in the district.
Equal Educational Opportunities Act, 1974: This civil rights statute prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex or national origin. The statute specifically prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity due to failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs.
Castañeda v. Pickard, 1981: A three-part test was established subsequent to the Lau Decision to evaluate the adequacy of a district’s program for ELL students: (1) is the program based on an educational theory recognized as sound by experts in the field or is it considered a legitimate experimental strategy; (2) are the programs and practices (including resources and personnel) reasonably calculated to implement this theory effectively; and (3) does the school district evaluate its programs and make adjustments where needed to ensure language barriers are actually being overcome?
Plyer v. Doe: A 1982 Supreme Court case ruling that the immigration status of a student is irrelevant and not a school district’s business. All students residing in a school district's boundaries must be allowed to attend public school. The court also ruled that districts could not do anything that would discourage enrollment by asking questions or requiring documentation that could expose their immigration status.
OAR 581-21-030(2) (a): Before administering individual intelligence tests and all tests of personality to children in public schools, districts shall inform parents in the language spoken in the home.
OAR 581-21-046(8): Districts shall develop and implement a plan for identifying students whose primary language is other than English, and shall provide such students with appropriate programs that allow effective and relevant participation in regular classroom instruction and other educational activities.
ORS 336.074: Teaching in English is required. Instruction may only be conducted in more than one language in order that pupils whose native language is other than English may have access to curriculum. They can develop bilingual skills in order to make the transition to English and benefit from increased educational opportunities.
OAR 336.079: Specific courses to teach speaking, reading, and writing of the English language shall be provided at kindergarten and each subsequent grade level to those children who are unable to profit from classes taught in English.
OAR 581-23-100: The State provides additional funding for serving English Language Learners. In order to qualify for state funding, students must be enrolled in a program that meets OCR standards.