Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Litigation Trend Analysis of Case Law Outcomes Pertaining to the Educational Rights of English Learners: A Civil Rights Issue
by Racines, Delia Elizabeth, Ph.D., George Mason University, 2014, 228; 3623987
Abstract (Summary)

The landmark 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has been a step forward in federal policy for the ever-increasing population of English Learners (ELs), fostering inclusion in standards-based assessments and college and/or career-readiness efforts, yet, ELs continue to struggle academically. The current 5.4 million ELs make up the lowest performing academic group in the United States (US) today. Despite its good intentions, NCLB is leaving behind the very students it was designed to help. The emphasis on various programs/services adopted by public schools based on the plethora of evidence-based instructional strategies has uncovered a less emphasized, yet, critical gap in research: attention to, enforcement, and/or a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the educational rights of ELs. Across the US, districts are learning of their lack of knowledge needed to meet legal requirements. The incentive to increase EL-related knowledge, beyond instructional strategies, is paramount.

This study presents a systematic analysis of EL-related case law outcomes using a four-step method of analysis and "simple-box scoring." Seven trends were identified using these legal policy research methodologies: (1) EL-related legislation, claims, and violations, (2) equal education opportunity violations, (3) inequitable educational programs, (4) inadequate EL programs and services, (5) funding issues, (6) ineffective EL identification, and (7) assessment.

As NCLB reauthorization draws closer, persistent focus on improving ELs' education suggest policy-making needs will increase, particularly with Common Core State Standards (CCSS), including alternatives to costly litigation. While essential knowledge may be gained from this study, such data are but one aspect of overall challenges and do not reveal uncontroverted guidelines for educating ELs. This study bridges the gap of critical knowledge needed to meet legal requirements for ELs, each of whom are entitled by law to access mainstream curriculum. Further limitations and implications are presented.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bon, Susan
Commitee: Galluzzo, Gary, Samaras, Anastasia
School: George Mason University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Virginia
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Law, English as a Second Language, Middle School education, Elementary education, Secondary education
Keywords: Case law, Civil rights, Educational rights, English as a second language, English language learners, Legal rights
Publication Number: 3623987
ISBN: 9781303969034
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