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Belmont Law Review

Abstract

This Note argues that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, should include a definition of long-term English learner (“LTEL”), and, additionally, set a minimum expectation for states and school districts that all English learner students achieve English Language Proficiency within a maximum of five years. It proceeds in four parts: Part I provides an overview of the English Learner population and discusses the current opportunities and obstacles of this population. Part II explores prevailing research on English learners, particularly as it relates to English language acquisition rates, which has shaped policy decisions regarding expectations for this population of students. Part III details the evolution of English learner case law and legislation, highlighting critical changes that have occurred over time. Finally, Part IV proposes model changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, which aim to hold states, school districts, and schools more accountable to meeting the needs of English learner students, and provides justifications for the proposed changes.

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