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- ersa 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 Ill consists of all other subject areas, mainly electives (18 hours) (District School Board of Pasco County). In 2001, NCLB established legislation in a sweeping overhaul of federal effort to support elementary and secondary education.
The legislation (Section 11: Title Ill) holds school districts accountable for English proficiency and is based upon improved student achievement and accountability for results with an emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research (Boward County Public Schools, 2010). With NCLB accountability, districts much describe how they will hold elementary and secondary schools accountable for eeting the goals and objectives for increasing the English proficiency of current ELL’s (Boward County Public Schools, 2010).
Districts must also hold elementary and secondary schools accountable for meeting the goals and objectives for increasing academic achievement for all current and former ELL’s (Boward County Public Schools, 2010).