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Press Release

United States Reaches Settlement with Providence Schools to Ensure Equal Opportunities for English Learner Students

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island today announced a settlement agreement with the Providence public school district that will provide English language services to the district’s 8,000 students who currently lack fluency 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 41 schools, and communicate with parents about program offerings and other essential information in a language they understand; 
  • Provide adequate English language services to all English Learner students so that they can become proficient in English and access grade-level core content instruction;
  • Ensure appropriate services for English Learner students with disabilities;
  • Secure a sufficient number of teachers who are certified in English as a Second Language, and train the administrators and teachers who implement the English Learner programs; and
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its English Learner programs over time.

“The Department of Justice commends the district for cooperating throughout the investigation, and the Superintendent for his commitment to helping English Learner students succeed and thrive in school,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “We look forward to working together to implement this promising settlement agreement.”

“As a result of this settlement agreement, English Learner students will now receive all of the services they are legally entitled to and deserve,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch for the District of Rhode Island. 

The enforcement of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at

Updated March 14, 2019

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 18-1042