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The Equal Education Act

Equal Education Act 

The Equal Education Act (1974) means that no State shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin. Through the failure by an educational agency to take appropriate steps to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs.

Equal Education Opportunities Act (EEOA) Section 1703(f)



Bilingual/ESL Education programs serve the needs of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students. The three principle aims of Bilingual/ESL Programs are:

  1. To help LEP students become proficient in English.
  2. To empower LEP students to participate effectively in the core curriculum offered to all students.
  3. To promote students' positive self-image and cross cultural understanding.



  • English language development
  • Primary (native/first) language academic instruction
  • Sheltered English academic instruction (SIOP)
  • Mainstream academic instruction
  • Self-image and cross-cultural instruction


WHO IS CONSIDERED "Limited English Proficient"?

Under Title VII, a student is considered limited-English proficient (LEP) if she/he is unable to speak the English language in order to participate effectively in the core curriculum offered to all students.


In order to implement the Equal Education Act the following procedures are required:

I. Initial Identification (Home Language Survey) and assessment following within 10 days

II. Equal access to appropriate programming

III. Equal access to appropriate categorical and other programming for Limited English Proficient (LEP) students

IV. Highly Qualified Personnel

V. Monitoring

VI. Outcome measures

The procedures for the implementation of the Equal Education Act procedures are described as follows:

I. Identification and Assessment

(1) Home Language Survey 

  • The home language survey and national origin data of all students must be collected and retained in the district. The survey includes the following questions:
  1. Is your child's native tongue a language other than English?
  2. Is the primary language used in the home a language other than English? (PHLOTE)

(2) English Assessment

  • Language assessment is required in the areas of listening, comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing as well as basic subject areas (i.e. math, science, and social studies).

(3) LEP Student Plan (Bilingual/ESL Program Student Information Record) 

  • The LEP Student Plan is a written document which identifies student name, instruction by program, including programs other than Bilingual/ESL, amount of instructional time or schedule, date of LEP identification, and assessment data used to classify or reclassify as LEP, etc.

(4) Classification and reclassification 

  • Student classified as LEP continues to receive appropriate instruction until such time as the student is reclassified as English proficient.

(5) Post-reclassification monitoring 

  • The performance of students who have exited from the Bilingual/ESL Program must be reviewed to identify any pattern of continuing under performance on appropriate tests and/or grades. This is obligatory for two years after exiting program services.

Such review occurs at the time of the student's first report card after exiting program and at the end of the school year. There will be a semi-annual review for the second year.

(6) Exemptions 

  • Students who have been in the program for two or fewer years may be exempted from participation in statewide assessment.

II. Equal access to appropriate categorical and other programs

Provides overall equal access requirements such as a prohibition of denial of service because of a student's level of English proficiency, and a student's right to access whether the program is offered before, during, or after the regular school day. This also includes special requirements to categorical and other program/services:

(1) Compensatory Education 

  • Requirements under this section include both Chapter 1 basic and migrant education, as well as compensatory programming. Equal access is required for LEP students, as well as understandable instruction in a manner appropriate to the students' level of English proficiency.

(2) Exceptional Student Education 

  • Requirements under this section apply both to handicapped and gifted students, and repeat equal access requirements previously given for regular education of LEP students

(3) Dropout Prevention 

  • Three requirements are given for dropout prevention programs and services:

(a) Equal access for LEP students,

(b) annual report of the number of students served by dropout prevention programs by race, national origin, limited English proficiency and type of service, and LEP parent participation on the development of the district's comprehensive program for dropout prevention.

(4) Student Services 

  • Equal access to student services (e.g. counseling) is required for LEP students.

(5) Pre-kindergarten Programs 

  • Equal Access to pre-kindergarten programs is required for LEP students, including programs such as Head Start, Migrant Pre-kindergarten, Pre-kindergarten Early intervention, and related programs.

(6) Equal Access For Immigrant Students 

  • Free, equal, and unhindered access to appropriate schooling is required for all immigrant students in compliance with a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Plyler v. Doe)

(7) Title I 

  • Equal access is required for LEP students who are within the targeted program, school and/or area where the funds are expended.

(8) Home-School Communications 

  • All written and oral communications between school personnel and parents of current or former LEP students are to be in the parents primary home language or other mode of communication commonly used by parents, unless clearly unfeasible.

(9) Discipline 

  • No national minority or LEP student will be subjected to any disciplinary action because of his/her use of a language other than English.

III. Personnel

Instructional Staff Requirements:

  1. Bilingual or ESL Certified Teacher
  2. Bilingual Native Language Tutor under the supervision of a certified teacher
  3. Mainstream teacher who has received ESOL Training (for students who have some fluency in the English language)

IV. Monitoring

The District identifies procedures to be followed in determining the extent to which students achieve.

V. Monitoring Issues

The District identifies procedures to be followed in determining the extent to which the district complies with the requirements of State and Federal guidelines.

VI. Outcome Measures

The District measures the extent to which student achievement is improved as a result of application of the implementation guidelines.

Terms and Definitions

THE ACT: means the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) of 1974, Section 1703 (f).

THE EQUAL EDUCATIONAL ACT (1974): means that no State shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin. By … (f) the failure by an educational agency to take appropriate steps to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation

ACQUISITION: A process by which children develop their first language through informal, implicit learning. (Frequently contrasted with LEARNING.)

BALANCED BILINGUAL: A person who can communicate effectively and equally well in two languages.

BASIC INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS (BICS): Those language skills, which comprise cognitively undemanding or everyday aspects of communication, such as social language. Research shows that most second language learners become proficient in BICS in about two years.

BILINGUAL EDUCATION: The use of two languages for the purpose of academic instruction.

CODE SWITCHING: The alternative use of two languages, or switching back and forth for situational communication. This usually occurs between two bilinguals who speak the same language and involves special social and communicative skills.

COGNITIVE ACADEMIC LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY (CALP): Proficiency in the use of language for difficult and abstract topics that have little or no concrete context. According to research, it takes 5-7 years for a second language learner to develop CALP.

DEVELOPMENTAL BILINGUAL PROGRAM: A program in which students are taught both English and their first language in order to foster continued development of the native language in addition to the learning of English. This is an additive bilingual language program.

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL): English instruction for the development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills for non-English speakers.

ENTRY/EXIT: Standards established to determine when a student should be placed in bilingual or special language program and when the same student is ready to leave the program for a regular monolingual English classroom.

FLUENT-ENGLISH PROFICIENT (FEP): English proficiency comparable to that of peers of the same grade or age whose primary language is English.

HOME LANGUAGE SURVEY: A document that is used to identify the language(s) spoken at home by each student.

LANGUAGE DOMINANCE: The language in which a bilingual person is most fluent.

LANGUAGE MINORITY POPULATIONS: Persons whose language background differs from that of the majority population.

LAU v. NICHOLS (1974): In 1974 a group of Chinese students sued the San Francisco Unified School District claiming they were denied access to a meaningful education because they could not understand the education they received. U.S. Supreme Court found for the plaintiffs.

LIMITED-ENGLISH PROFICIENT (LEP) STUDENT: A student whose primary language is other than English and who does not demonstrate English language skills of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing at a level necessary to receive instruction only in English with native English-speaking peers.

MONOLINGUAL: A person who has the ability to communicate in only one language.

NATIVE LANGUAGE/PRIMARY LANGUAGE: The first language acquired by a person.

NON-ENGLISH PROFICIENT (NEP): The inability to speak the English language.

SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: The development of second language proficiency through either structured instruction of interaction with native speakers of that language.

SHELTERED ENGLISH INSTRUCTION: A mode of teaching regular content area courses in ways, which are designed to make comprehensible to students who are learning English as a second language. Techniques include simplified speech, contextualization, task-function orientation and interactional activities, delivered by staff trained in SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) methodology.