Legal Requirements

AMAO Letter to Districts 09-10


Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Equal education opportunities for all. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color or national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. Equal educational opportunities are guaranteed for all.

Federal Bilingual Education Act, 1968: Funding pilot projects in bilingual education.

OCR 1970 Memorandum: Requires school districts to 1) take affirmative steps to rectify language deficiencies in order to open its instructional program to national origin minority group students and establish effective participation in the education program regardless of English ability and 2) adequately notify language-minority parents (in the parents’ native language) of school activities that are called to the attention of other parents. Prohibits 1) school districts from assigning ELL students to special education classes based solely on English language skills and 2) specialized programs for ELL students to operate as an educational dead-end or permanent track.

Lau v. Nichols, 1974: In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that identical education does not constitute equal education under the civil rights act of 1964. The court ruled that the district must take affirmative steps to overcome educational barriers faced by the non-English speaking students in the district.

Equal Educational Opportunities Act, 1974: Students must not be discriminated against on the basis of race, creed, sex, or national origin. The statute specifically prohibits states from denying equal education opportunity due to failure of an educational agency to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede equal participation by its students in its instructional programs.

Castañeda v. Pickard, 1981: Instructional programs for limited English proficient students must meet a three-pronged test of appropriateness: 1) They must be based on educational theory that is recognized and sound; 2) The school must actually implement the program with instructional practices, resources and personnel necessary to translate theory into reality; 3) The school must not persist in a program that fails to produce results.

Plyler v. Doe, 1982: A 1982 Supreme Court case ruling that the immigration status of a student is irrelevant and not a school district’s business. All students residing in the school district’s boundaries must be allowed to attend public school. The court also ruled that the districts could not do anything that would discourage enrollment by asking or requiring documentation that could expose their immigration status.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB), 2001: Requires improvement in performance of America's primary and secondary schools by increasing the standards of accountability for states, school districts and schools, as well as providing parents more flexibility in choosing which schools their children will attend. NCLB includes a provision for schools and districts to meet Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAO) by which English Language Learning students make measurable progress in English language mastery, are exited from special services and enter mainstream classrooms within five years. NCLB requires provision for selecting a program approach/model, implementing the program and evaluating the program. It also requires school districts to notify parents about English Language Development services provided and student progress.

The Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives are as follows:

  • AMAO 1 - Percentage of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students showing progress (moving up one language proficiency level):

2009-2010          50%

2010-2011          53%

2011-2012          57%

2012-2013          61%

  • AMAO 2A - Percentage of all LEP students attaining English language proficiency (reclassification or exiting program):

2009-2010          14%

2010-2011          15.5%

2011-2012          17%

2012-2013          19%

  • AMAO 2B - Percentage of LEP students with 5 or more years attaining English language proficiency :

2009-2010          22%

2010-2011          24%

2011-2012          26.5%

2012-2013          29%

  • AMAO 3: Percentage of LEP students meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in mathematics and Language Arts; both in participation and performance.


OAR 581-21-030 (2) (a): Before administering individual intelligence tests or tests of personality to children in public schools, districts shall inform parents in the language spoken at home.

OAR 581-21-046 (8): Districts shall develop and implement a plan for identifying students whose primary language is other than English and shall provide such students with appropriate programs.

OAR 581-22-505: Each district school board shall adopt written policies that assure equality of opportunity for all students as provided in OAR’s 581-21-045 and 581-21-046(8).

OAR 336.079: Specific courses to teach speaking, reading and writing of the English language shall be provided at kindergarten and each subsequent grade level to those children who are unable to profit from classes taught in English.

OAR 581-23-100: The State provides additional funding for servicing English Language Learners. In order to qualify for state funding, students must be enrolled in a program that meets OCR standards.

ORS 336.074: Teaching in English is required. Instruction may only be conducted in more than one language in order that pupils whose native language is other than English may have access to curriculum. They can develop bilingual skills in order to make the transition to English and benefit from increased educational opportunities.

ORS 659.850: Discrimination in education prohibited; rules. (1) As used in this section, “discrimination” means any act that unreasonably differentiates treatment, intended or unintended, or any act that is fair in form but discriminatory in operation, either of which is based on age, disability, national origin, race, marital status, religion or sex. (2) No person in Oregon shall be subjects to discrimination in any public elementary, secondary or community college education program or service, school or interschool activity or in any higher education program or service, school or interschool activity where the program, service, school or activity is financed in whole or in part by moneys appropriated by the Legislative Assembly.

Hostile Educational Environments HB 2599: Amends harassment, intimidation & bullying law (ORS 339.351). Key additions include: “Protected class,” specific person to report complaints, uniform procedure throughout district, distribution of policy to public, consequence for noncompliance and effective date (July 1, 2009).

Race/Ethnicity Identification: Districts are required to request race and ethnicity information from students. If parents choose not to supply information, district personnel are required to supply the information.