Parent's Right to Refuse ELD Services and Programs

GUIDANCE for parent right to refuse the liep

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has maintained a policy that the parents of English Learners (ELs) may only refuse English language development services for their children for religious reasons. Recently, a number of cases have compelled the PDE to rescind that policy in order to comply with existing federal law. The following guidance describes that change was necessitated because of these circumstances. Although PDE would customarily introduce this type of change at the most convenient time for districts to prepare and implement local procedural changes (i.e., the end of the school year), for legal reasons it was not possible to delay the change in this case.

The Department recognizes that direct instruction in language acquisition skills is of value, and it is our responsibility as educators to educate all children in Pennsylvania. We are confident that will continue in response to these federal changes. PDE will support districts in any way possible to accommodate this policy shift and ensure a smooth implementation within districts.


Refusal of English Language Development (ELD) programs and/or services indicates an informed, voluntary decision by the parent to not have the child placed in any separate, specialized ELD service or instructional program. A "waiver" indicates a desire by the parent to waive the child from participation in all or some of the ELD programs or services offered by the school.