Title III English Learners

Title III English Learners

Lau Plan

"There is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education." - Lau v. Nichols (1974)

What is a Lau Plan?

A Lau plan is an equal access plan that protects ELs. The plan describes what a school district will do:
  • to identify its ELs
  • to design an effective program reflective of their needs
  • to employ appropriate English-as-a-second-language or bilingual personnel (or both),
  • to align the instruction of ELs to state and local content standards
  • to provide ongoing authentic assessments to ascertain their growth in English language proficiency and in the comprehension of academic content.
A Lau plan is a "working document" that should be revisited frequently.
Essential components of a Lau plan include the legal foundation, student assessments, an instructional plan, parental involvement, qualified personnel, a coordination plan, a budget, adjunct services, and other possible considerations.


[ESEA Section 3201 or 20 U.S.C. § 6812] The term “EL,” when used with respect to an individual, means
  1. an individual who is aged 3 through 21;
  2. an individual who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school;
  3. an individual who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English
    1. who is Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of the outlying areas; and
    2. who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual's level of English language proficiency; or
    3. who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant.
  4. an individual whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual:
    1. the ability to meet the state's proficient level of achievement on state assessments described in ESEA Section 1111(b)(3) or 20 U.S.C. § 6812;
    2. the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or
    3. the opportunity to participate fully in society

General Resources


Additional information on screening students with the WIDA Screener or Newcomer Kit can be found on the EL Assessment - Identification webpage.

Title III Funding and Supplement not Supplant

The Title III- EL Plan and budget are part of the ESEA Consolidated Budget Application which is due annually by July 1
Questions to ask when considering whether Title III funds can be used without violating the supplement not supplant requirement:
  1. What is the instructional program/service provided to all students;
  2. What does the LEA do to meet Lau v. Nichols (414 U.S. 663 (1974)) requirements to ensure that non-English speaking students receive an equal education;
  3. What services is the LEA required by other federal, state, and local laws or regulations to provide; and
  4. Was the program/service previously provided with federal or state and local funds?
DESE will presume supplanting has occurred if the LEA used Title III funds to provide services that:
  1. were required to be made available under other federal, state, or local laws; and/or
  2. were provided with nonfederal funds in the prior year.
The presumption of supplanting may be rebutted if the LEA demonstrates it would not have provided services with nonfederal funds if the federal funds were not available.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can Title III EL funds be used to purchase translation devices?
If the translation device is needed for activities and communications specific to Title III/supplemental activities and communications, then it is an allowable use of Title III funds. If it is to be used for activities and communications that are a part of the general school function offered to all parents, then it is not allowable.