Senior Obama Administration Officials Release English Learner Tool Kit

Archived Information

Senior Obama Administration Officials Release English Learner Tool Kit

September 21, 2015

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) today announced the completion of the English Learner (EL) Tool Kit to support states, districts and schools in meeting their legal obligations to ELs and ensuring access to quality education.

"Our work is motivated by the belief that all students - regardless of race, gender, income, disability, and English learner status - need and deserve a world-class education," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "This toolkit - along with the guidance we released in January - can serve as a critical resource for educators in their work with English learners to help ensure that all students have a chance to succeed in school, careers and life.”

The EL Tool Kit is a companion to the English Learner Guidance released jointly by ED and DOJ in January, 2015, and consists of 10 chapters, each chapter aligned to one of the 10 sections of the guidance. Each chapter contains easy-to-use tools and resources relevant to the topic of the chapter.

“The tool kit is a perfect complement to the English Learner guidance the Departments of Justice and Education issued in January. The tool kit equips educators with the resources they need to put our nation’s English Learners on the path to success,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division at DOJ. “The Civil Rights Division congratulates the Department of Education on the completion of the tool kit and encourages states and schools to use it to help English Learners realize their full potential.”

Included in the tool kit are tools and resources for identifying ELs, delivering high quality EL programs, evaluating the effectiveness of EL programs, preventing unnecessary segregation, providing qualified staff, ensuring access to school programs and activities (including disability-related services), exiting ELs from EL programs at the appropriate time, monitoring students’ progress, and supporting limited English proficient parents.

“We are committed to equity and access for all students, and in particular, English Learners,” said Libia Gil, assistant deputy secretary and director for ED’s Office of English Language Acquisition. “In our country we have a valuable yet untapped resource in our EL student population. These students come to school already speaking a variety of home languages. The heritage languages our English Learners bring to school are major assets to preserve and value.”

The tool kit is free and accessible to the public and can be easily downloaded and printed here online.

Our nation’s public schools serve over five million EL students–about 10 percent of all public school students. Therefore, it is crucial to the future of our nation that EL students—and all students—have equal access to a high-quality education and are provided an equal opportunity to succeed. The tool kit is just one part of the ED’s work to expand equity and opportunity in education as it honors of Hispanic Heritage Month and the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.