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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As the fastest-growing student population in U.S. public schools, students who are English learners (ELs) have increasingly shifted to the center of key education law, policy, and practice discussions at the local, state, and national level. This chapter lays a foundation for those interested in understanding what it means to be an EL and historical federal statutory efforts and key judicial decisions related to inequalities and inequities in educational opportunities for ELs. Additionally, this chapter takes up the contemporary legal context for EL students, with the authors contending that policy and legal trends suggest a number of important legal shifts: from a binary to a multifarious understanding of the EL student population and from questions of equitable educational inputs to questions of equitable educational outputs for EL students.

Keywords: English learner, Civil Rights Act 1964, Title VI, Bilingual Education Act, Equal Educational Opportunities Act, Lau v. Nichols, Horne v. Flores, Castañeda v. Pickard, Desegregation litigation, School finance litigation

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