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Ed. Department Plans to Step Up Civil Rights Enforcement

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan plans to give a speech today in Selma, Ala., promising to invigorate enforcement of civil rights laws in U.S. schools, which I blogged about over at Politics K-12.

In his prepared remarks, which were circulated to reporters, Duncan mentions that English-language learners are one of the groups of students that Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act must protect, along with minority students and those with disabilities.

For years I've heard advocates of ELLs complain that the office for civil rights of the U.S. Department of Education is lackluster in enforcing civil rights law in schools. At the same time, I've reported in depth on at least one school district, Salt Lake City, that was forced by the Education Department's office for civil rights to dramatically improve its programs for ELLs.

I'll be curious to see if educators notice any big changes in how schools are held accountable to provide equal opportunities to English-language learners after the Obama administration rolls out new civil rights guidance this spring.

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