Justice Dept.: ‘Widespread failures’ of EL programs cited in settlement with Nashua School District

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Offices of the Nashua School District.

A full copy of the settlement agreement can be viewed here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Justice Department on Monday announced a settlement agreement with the Nashua School District to resolve the department’s investigation into the school district’s programs for its English learner students. The department’s investigation found widespread failures to provide these students with the instruction and support they need to learn English and participate fully in school. The Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire conducted the investigation under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

“School districts must step up and give English learners the language services and supports they are entitled to under federal law. This agreement is a reminder that teachers cannot deliver those supports and services without training and resources from their district,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously enforce the law to open the doors of opportunity for all students in our nation’s schools. We commend the Nashua School District for opening those doors to its English Learners by entering into this agreement.”

“We are committed to protecting the civil rights of all students, including English language learners,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John J. Farley for the District of New Hampshire. “We make our communities better when our local schools serve the needs of all students and parents. This agreement will help ensure that Nashua schools are places where all students have a chance to learn and grow and all parents have an opportunity to follow their children’s  progress.”

The district cooperated at every stage of the investigation and is committed to improving its practices through the comprehensive agreement. Under the agreement, the district will:

  • Identify English learners and enroll them in appropriate classes;
  • Provide English as a second language instruction to all English learner students, including students with disabilities, and ensure the district has enough teachers certified to teach English as a second language;
  • Train teachers of academic core subjects like math, science and social studies on how to help English learner students understand the content in their grade-level courses;
  • Train school principals on how to evaluate teachers of English learner students and support effective teaching strategies;
  • Communicate essential school-related information in a language that Limited English Proficient parents can understand so their children can access all school programs; and
  • Monitor students’ progress and evaluate the effectiveness of its English learner programs over time.

The Justice Department will monitor the district’s implementation of the settlement for three full school years.

The enforcement of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 is a top priority of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt, and additional information about the work of the Educational Opportunities Section is available here.  Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations here.


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About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com