National Origin: In recent years, the majority of people immigrating to the U.S. have been from Mexico, South America, Asia, the West Indies, and Africa. The largest growth has been in the Latino immigrant population (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010). One in five students in public schools today is Latino (Planty, et al., 2008). Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 require equal access of LEP/ELL students to standard curriculum programs in public schools. Title III of the 2002 NCLB Act mandates that schools must ensure that LEP/ELL students, including immigrant children and youth, "attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet."
Working toward the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the current administration proposes to establish new criteria to ensure consistent statewide identification of students as English learners, and to determine eligibility, placement, and duration of services based on a state's valid and reliable English language proficiency assessment. Also proposed is a system to evaluate the effectiveness of language instruction programs and to provide information on the achievement of subgroups of English learners so as to drive better decisions by school districts for program improvement (USDE, 2010).