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Legal Resources

A collection of often cross-referenced legal documents, which have defined English learner access rights to educational services. It is supplemented with various federal Web sites related to civil rights and sources.

Attorney General’s Opinion, No. 99-802External link opens in new window or tab.
A school district may not deny a parental request for an individual waiver from the statutory mandate that all students be instructed in English on the sole ground that the district has no alternative program. This opinion was written on February 25, 2000, by then Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Enter "99-802" into this search page for the opinion text.

Castañeda v. Pickard, [5th Cir., 1981] 648 F.2d 989External link opens in new window or tab.
This case established a three-part test to evaluate the adequacy of a district's program for the English language learner:

  1. Is the program based on an educational theory recognized as sound by some experts in the field or is it considered by experts as a legitimate experimental strategy?
  2. Are the programs and practices, including resources and personnel, reasonably calculated to implement this theory effectively?
  3. Does the school district evaluate its programs and make adjustments where needed to ensure that language barriers are actually being overcome?

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionExternal link opens in new window or tab.
Congress using its power to regulate interstate commerce, enacted this Act under Title 42, Public Health and Welfare, Chapter 21, Civil Rights, of the United States Code.

Dear Colleague Letter External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
On January 7, 2015, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a joint guidance to assist State Educational Agencies (SEAs), school districts, and all public schools in meeting their legal obligations to ensure that English Learner (EL) students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs and services.

Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. ConstitutionExternal link opens in new window or tab.
Rights, Guaranteed Privileges, and Immunities of Citizenship; Due Process and Equal Protection
Gomez v. Illinois State Board of Education, [7th Cir., 1987] 811 F.2d 1030
The United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, ruled that State responsibilities include the establishment and enforcement of minimums for implementation of language remediation programs; requirements for the reclassification of students from Limited English Proficient to Fluent English Proficient status.
Idaho Migrant Council v. Board of Education, [9th Cir., 1981] 647 F.2d 69
This case established the legal responsibility of State Departments of Education to monitor and implement programs for Limited English Proficient students.

Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver, Colorado, 413 U.S. 189 (1973)External link opens in new window or tab.
Keyes established that racially segregative actions in one portion of a school system could render the entire system liable to the definition as segregated.

Legal Citations to Support the Federal Program Monitoring English Learner Instrument
This is a legal citation document containing the United States Federal Law such as U.S. Code, Federal Regulations, Supreme Court Cases, Congressional Legislation and Office of Management and Budget Regulations. It also contains California State Law such as Education Code, Code of Regulations, and handbooks pertaining to English Learners.

In November 2016, California voters passed Proposition 58 (CA Ed.G.E. Initiative) which amended several 1998 Proposition 227 requirements. The amended California Education Code sections are 300, 305, 306, 310, 320, and 335 (DOCX)

United States Department of Education, Office for Civil RightsExternal link opens in new window or tab.
Promotes equal access to education and educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights. A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury.

Questions:   Technical Assistance and Monitoring Office | 916-319-0845
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 25, 2023
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