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Abstract

Under Leandro v. State, the North Carolina Constitution guarantees a sound basic education for all students enrolled in public schools. This Comment addresses the state's current system for educating the rising number of non-native English speaking students and demonstrates how that system has failed to meet Leandro's command.

This Comment uses the framework constructed in Leandro to explore North Carolina's current challenges in educating English Learners ("EL"). It examines the long-standing achievement gap that exists between EL students and their native-English speaking peers and demonstrates that EL students are not receiving a sound basic education. Additionally, this Comment examines the language-acquisition programs currently used throughout the state and the promising steps North Carolina has taken to address the needs of these students. It also considers programs implemented in other jurisdictions and offers proposed solutions for further improvement to ensure that North Carolina's EL students obtain their constitutionally guaranteed opportunity to a sound basic education.

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