Watson Chronicle


Education Updates and Features

ELMS Presentation - Legal Issues and English Language Learners

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

English Language Learners (ELLs) in the public school system face issues and barriers that native speakers do not. In order to learn alongside native speakers, ELLs must first learn to master the English language. Debates have continued for many years in regards to what are the most appropriate strategies to use when educating ELLs. Unfortunately, legal issues can arise when making educational plans for these students, even with the best of intentions from administrators, principals, and teachers. Understanding the legal issues that may emerge regarding ELLs will help school districts make informed decisions. From the standpoint of advocates, the issues that arise in regards to the equal educational opportunities for these children include:

  • Funding: Whether or not local money is equally spent on instruction and materials for ELLs compared to native speaking students in the classroom. Whether or not federal funding (e.g., Title I) is being used to supplement or supplant local money.
  • Teacher Certification and Training: Whether or not teachers with ELLs in the classroom have the necessary training (e.g., in ESL) to effectively educate these students.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: How does the district (and state) know whether or not the instruction of ELLs is successful?
  • Documentation: What are the responsibilities of a school district to educate students whose legal status is uncertain? How does fluctuating enrollment of undocumented students affect the school district?

Each of these issues has resulted in litigation. Our guest speaker, Attorney Alan J. Rom, will discuss what districts can do to avoid lawyers like him!


OCTOBER 25, 2013
Legal Issues and English Language Learners: Tips on Avoiding Litigation
With guest speaker Alan J. Rom of Rom Law, PC
Sponsored by the ELMS Project and Southeast Education Alliance

OCTOBER 26, 2013
Dr. Eleni Pappamihiel will present at the C.A.R.E conference.

JUNE 2014
Teacher's Workshop on ESL Topics
Topics TBD

Visit the ELMS website for more information at www.uncw.edu/ed/elms/