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Special Education, English Language Learners, & Collaboration

1599 words - 7 pages

During the 2012- 2013 academic school year, in the Northshore school district , 2660 students with disabilities were served by Special Education services, and 5.4% of the Northshore student population was classified as English Language Learners. (Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction). Understanding the basic foundation and history of special education and English language development programs, can assist an educator, in better serving the needs of a diversified classroom.
According to the Federal Government, special education is composed of three major pieces. First, the unique needs of a student with a disability, must be met through individualized instruction, ...view middle of the document...

This ruling also, began to challenge the educational policies that were in place, in regard to students with disabilities and non-English speakers; was segregation the appropriate educational setting for these students (Nieto, 2009, p 63). In 1964, the Civil Rights Act, Title VI, stated that no person shall be denied access to federally funded programs or activities, based on color, race, or national origin. The Civil Rights Act, guarantees education rights to all students, regardless of disability, color, race, or English proficiency. Furthermore, school districts that did not comply with the mandated desegregation, were withheld from receiving federal funding (WestED, 1997, p. 26).
Another law that is considered to be important to English language development programs, is the Bilingual Education Act. English development programs were not mandated by this law, but it did provide funding for program development. In 1974, in Lau v. Nichols, the Supreme Court ruled, that the responsibility to adequately educate ELL through appropriate program/accommodations, lied on the school district, not on the students or their families (Nieto, 2009, p 64).
Lau v. Nichols, put six major guidelines in place better known as the Lau Remedies (published in 1975 by the Office of Civil Rights) they include: (1) school districts must identify and assess English Language Learners, (2) a program for English Language Development must be provided, (3) access to the general curriculum must be provided, (4) access to all school services and programs must be provided (5) these programs must be use recognized practices and (6) program effectiveness must be monitored (data collection), (WestED, 1997, p 64).
In response to protecting the rights and creating educational opportunities, for students with disabilities several federal statutes were produced, they include Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Education for all Handicapped Children Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the American with Disabilities Act, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, was one of the earliest laws to bring to light the discrimination that students with disabilities faced. Shortly after, the All Handicap Children Act was also put into place, this law made funding available for the creation of program/services for this underserved community. In addition, it made states accountable for the creation of special education programs. In 1975 the All Handicap Children Act was amended, resulting into what is now known as the Education for all Handicapped Children Act (Friend, 2014, p 12).
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities Acts protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, clearly states that no person shall be discriminated against based on their disability and that no individual will be denied access to programs that receive...


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