Civil Rights Community Releases Civil Rights Principles for Multilingual Learner Education

Education News 01.8,24

Contact: Mattie Goldman, [email protected]

Multilingual Learner Education Policies Must Advance Equity, Protect Civil Rights

WASHINGTON — To advance equity and civil rights, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with 43 civil rights and education organizations, today released Civil Rights Principles for Multilingual Learner Education. The principles outline how decision-makers at all levels can ensure an equitable education system that offers meaningful equal opportunity and success for all children, including children whose first language is a language other than English. The groups urge policymakers and educators to immediately adopt principles that create learning environments where multilingual student learners can thrive and grow alongside their peers.

“All children — including multilingual learners — deserve to be seen and celebrated for who they are and to have the opportunity to bring their gifts and talents into the classroom. These principles set forth a charge for decision-makers from the White House to the school building to ensure meaningful inclusion, respect, and fairness for English learner students and their families. The civil rights community is united and determined to pursue this agenda to ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive,” said Liz King, senior program director for education equity at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Our national future depends on an equitable education system where children from diverse backgrounds are able to learn together and build the multiracial, multilingual democracy we all deserve.”

The principles state:

  • PRINCIPLE #1: Fully include English learner students in all aspects of education and protect students and their families from discrimination.
  • PRINCIPLE #2: Involve parents and respect their expertise.
  • PRINCIPLE #3: Provide culturally responsive and developmentally appropriate care and instruction to young children who are learning more than one language.
  • PRINCIPLE #4: Provide teachers with high-quality preparation and support so that all teachers can meet the needs of English learners.
  • PRINCIPLE #5: Provide schools with sufficient funding to effectively meet the educational needs of English learners.
  • PRINCIPLE #6: Support students’ acquisition of English language proficiency.
  • PRINCIPLE #7: Collect and report disaggregated data to ensure accountability for equal opportunity.
  • PRINCIPLE #8: Support students’ meaningful access to content area knowledge while they are acquiring English language proficiency, including by ensuring that enriched and advanced educational opportunities are equitably available to English learners.
  • PRINCIPLE #9: Reject English-only requirements, provide instructional opportunities in multiple languages, and avoid instructional approaches that do not support students’ home languages and cultures as they work toward English proficiency.
  • PRINCIPLE #10: Ensure access to post-secondary pathways, including degree programs and workforce training, that do not create a two-tiered system for English learners.

The Civil Rights Principles for Multilingual Learner Education are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Hindi, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit