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At issue before the U.S. Supreme Court in Lau v. Nichols was whether a school system is required to provide a program to address the language problems of non-English-speaking students. In this civil rights class action suit, the Court ruled that school districts receiving federal funds must act to correct students' linguistic deficits to ensure they receive an equal education. The decision, based on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, failed to specify what kinds of remedies were required. This entry describes the case, the decision, and its impact on education.

Facts of the Case

Kinney Kinmon Lau and other non-English-speaking Chinese students sought to compel the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to provide all non-English-speaking Chinese students with bilingual compensatory education in the English language. ...

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