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Legal Framework

The legal requirements for identifying, supporting, and reclassifying ELs stem from several sources, including federal law and the associated regulatory guidance, court cases, and state law. Non-regulatory guidance for how to meet these requirements is also published by the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights. The Office of Civil Rights is the primary enforcer of EL rights, and many of the legal precedents which govern how districts must support ELs stem from federal Civil Rights compliance lawsuits brought on behalf of ELs and their parents.

Additionally, the State of Wisconsin has state statutes regarding services to educate English Learners. 

U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition offers legal guidance and resources for schools educating English Learners. The English Learner Toolkit is a comprehensive resource. The Newcomer Toolkit offers resources for our most recently arrived students.

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights works to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights in our nation’s schools. This department's Dear Colleague letters highlight specific policies that the department is finding to be inconsistently applied across states and districts. 




For questions about this information, contact Amy Maciolek (608) 266-1570