Arlington Public Schools will bolster education of ESL students

The federal government is demanding Arlington Public Schools do a better job educating the school system’s approximately 5,000 students who are not proficient in English.

The school system has reached a settlement with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Under terms of the settlement Arlington Public Schools has agreed to properly identify and place English learner students when they enroll. Students’ parents must also be informed by Arlington Schools — in the language the parents understand — about educational opportunities for their child.

The settlement requires the schools to provide English as a second language instruction to all students who need it. The school system has also agreed to adequately train middle school core content teachers of English learner students and train secondary school principals on how to evaluate teachers of English learner students.

The schools must also ensure that students learning English are appropriately evaluated for special education and that the school system’s program is properly monitored and its effectiveness evaluated over time.

Arlington Public Schools have been under federal investigation for potential violations of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974. The settlement averts enforcement action by the Justice Department.

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