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Federal Mandates: Education of English Language Learners

— 1964
Civil Rights Act- First legislation to offer education for all disadvantaged students
— 1968
Bilingual Education Act. (P.L. 94-247)
-increased bilingual programs in schools
-provided funding to Non-English speaking students
— 1973
Lau v. Nichols
(483 E2d 9th Cir., 1973)
-ruled that schools are required to provide assistance for students who “are certain to find their classroom experiences wholly incomprehensible” due to lack of understanding English
— 1974
Civil Rights Act: Title VI. (P.L. (93-380) 1974
-called for instruction in two languages for students whose native tongue was not English
-Federal aid was to be withheld from School Districts not complying
— 1976
-State of California was first state to rule mandatory Bilingual Education for all ages
— 1981
Senator Edward Hayakawa introduces a bill to make English the sole and official language of the United States
— 2000
Proposition #203 passed in Arizona to outlaw Bilingual Education
— 2001
No Child Left Behind became law. This was an educational initiative by the Bush Administration to assure that all categories of students were represented and given equal opportunities to be included in all areas of education in the United States

Reed, A. J., Bergemann, V., (1992) In the classroom: an introduction to education, 1st ed., 1-8 Connecticut: Dushkin Publishing Group

Florida has a set of Sunshine State Standards that my school currently uses. Some schools have already adapted to the new Common Core Standards. Within the Sunshine State Standards, specifically in Language Arts, English Language Proficiency Standards are provided within the State Standards in three different levels: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. “Law requires states to develop English Language Proficiency Standards. These standards must be linked to the Sunshine State Standards” (English Language Learners, 2011). Each of these levels is accompanied by a set of skills describing set proficiency for each. This information being readily available for new and seasoned teachers helps to ensure all ELL students receive the same quality instruction as other students.
Teachers who are dealing with ELL students must remember these eight important principles: (www.broward.k12.fl.us/esol)
  1. Students are treated as individuals with their own needs and interests
  2. They are provided with opportunities to participate in communicative and reflective use of the language in a wide range of activities.
  3. They are exposed to language that is comprehensible and relevant to their own interests and frames of reference.
  4. They focus deliberately on various language forms, skills and strategies in order to support the process of language acquisition and the learning of concepts.
  5. They are exposed to socio-cultural information and direct experience of the culture embedded within the language
  6. They become aware of the role and nature of language and culture.
  7. They are provided with appropriate feedback about their progress
  8. They are provided with opportunities to manage their own learning
English Language Learners. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org Florida K-12 Reading and Language Arts Standards. Retrieved from http://etc.usf.edu/flstandards

North Carolina:
Comparing North Carolina State Standards with the federal mandates, I have observed that the standards are changing due to the Common Core Standards for reading, writing and listening. The Common Core is more specific and the wording of the standards is nationwide. The draft on WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) website is a great resource for teachers. The 2002 standards of North Carolina were generic enough that the teacher could make minor adjustments to their lesson plans and not engage and involve the English language learner. With the Common Core standards and mandates, the teachers are responsible for specific skills and strategies to make sure the ELL students have the opportunity to excel academically and socially.

North Carolina Standards for literacy instruction of English language learners

Standard 1: Teachers demonstrate a high level of competence as an English language model and an understanding of language as a system. They are prepared to help limited English proficient students acquire and use English for social and academic purposes.
Standard 2: Teachers demonstrate understanding of concepts, theories, research, and practice related to the language acquisition and literacy development of limited English proficient students
Standard 3: Teachers demonstrate understanding of the major theories and research related to the nature of culture and cultural groups that affect and support language development, academic achievement, and individual identities.
Standard 4: Teachers demonstrate understanding of laws, regulations, and policies at the federal, state and local levels that relate to serving limited English proficient students.
Standard 5: Teachers apply effective methods, practices, and strategies based on second language acquisition theories and research to plan, implement, and manage ESL and content instruction.
Standard 6: Teachers identify, choose, and adapt a wide range of materials, resources, and technologies in ESL and content instruction
Standard 7: Teachers develop literacy in limited English proficient students.
Standard 8: Teachers use a variety of assessments as they relate to the education of limited English proficient students.
Standard 9: Teachers recognize how diverse languages, cultures, family backgrounds, and abilities affect the learning of English as a second language.
Standard 10: Teachers utilize and respect the diversity in the languages and cultures of limited English proficient students.
Standard 11: Teachers affirm that all students with limited English proficiency can learn English.
Standard 12: Teachers stay current on research, trends, policies, and legal mandates affecting.
Standard 13: Teachers advocate for LEP students and ESL programs by encouraging communication and partnerships among students, families, communities and schools.
Standard 14: Teachers collaborate within the educational community and serve as resources and models for their peers to enhance learning and encourage cross-cultural interaction.


Illinois is the fifth largest state with the highest number of English Language Learners (ELLs). Illinois is making the transition into the Common Core Standards, which will include more specific standards. The current Illinois State Standards use common elements, including: English language proficiency standards, language domains, grade level clusters, and language proficiency levels.
The five English language proficiency standards are identical for the classroom and large scale state assessment frameworks. They reflect the social and academic dimensions of acquiring a second language that are expected of English language learners in grade levels K-12 attending schools in the United States.
Each English language proficiency standard addresses a specific context for language acquisition (social and instructional settings as well as language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) and is divided into four grade level clusters: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Overall, the language proficiency standards center on the language needed and used by English language learners to succeed in school.
English Language Proficiency Standard 1:
English language learners communicate in English for social and purposes within the school setting.

English Language Proficiency Standard 2:
English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts.

English Language Proficiency Standard 3:
English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Mathematics.

English Language Proficiency Standard 4:
English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Science.

English Language Proficiency Standard 5:
English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Social Studies.