What is the Meta Consent Decree and how has it affected teaching and learning?
In 1990, a judge of the United Stated District court, Southern District of Florida, signed a Consent Decree giving the court power to enforce an agreement between the Florida State board of Education and a coalition of eight groups represented by Multicultural Education, Training, and Advocacy, Inc. (META). An agreement was drafted regarding the identification and provision of services to students whose native language is other than English (Govoni, 2010).
Bilingual education has been a debatable subject since its conception during the case of Lau vs. Nichols, in the early 1970’s. However, in that case, the court only ruling was that the children’s Fourteenth Amendment (Equal Protection) was violated, but never outlined as to how things were to be carried out in the future to prevent further incidences. Due to the fact, that the LEP/ELL student must be able to transfer to knowledge, skills, and concepts from the first language to the second and vice-versa and are further required to learn the same content and pass the same assessments as other students, accountability had to be aligned with the terms of the consent decree. A major focus of the 1990 Consent Decree is to ensure that all ELL’s receive equitable instruction in a manner understood by them along with English language Development. The Consent Decree ensures this by outlining ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher training requirements for all teachers of ELL's. The amount and type of training required is a three-tiered training program based upon certification and teaching concentration (Govoni, 2010). Teachers are assigned a category based in the instruction they provide to ELL students. Category 1 consists of primary Language Arts teachers including Intensive Reading teachers (300 hours). Category II consists of basic subject areas such as Social Studies, Math, and Science (60 hours). Category...
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