Today the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced a settlement agreement with Arlington Public Schools that will bolster English language services to the district’s approximately 5,000 students who are not proficient in English. The agreement, which stems from the United States’ investigation under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, will ensure that these English Learner students receive the services they need to succeed in the district’s educational programs.
Under the agreement, the district will:
- Properly identify and place English Learner students when they enroll in the district’s 34 schools, and communicate with parents about program offerings and other essential information in a language they understand;
- Provide English as a Second Language instruction to all English Learner students, including students with disabilities, so that they can become proficient in English;
- Adequately train middle school core content teachers of English Learner students so that these students can meaningfully access grade-level curricula;
- Train secondary school principals on how to evaluate teachers of English Learner students and support effective teaching strategies;
- Ensure that English Learner students are timely and appropriately evaluated for special education services; and
- Properly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its English Learner programs over time.
“We commend the Arlington Public Schools for working with the Department of Justice to achieve this promising and positive result for the school district’s English Learners,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “For the students who will benefit from the agreement, learning English is key to unlocking educational opportunities. We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the Arlington Public Schools to implement this agreement.”
“This settlement ensures that English Learner students in Arlington Public Schools receive the services they need,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “My office is committed to protecting the rights of all students, including those fighting to learn the English language or overcome disabilities, to receive the education and support they need to reach their full potential. As someone who personally struggles with dyslexia, if it were not for the protections afforded by civil rights statutes, especially the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), my own educational journey would have been nearly impossible. EDVA’s work under the EEOA, the ADA, and other laws protecting students is critically important and a top priority.”
The enforcement of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act is a top priority of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.