State agrees to make sure English learners receive help
Jesus Perez, an eighth-grade student at Mountain View Middle School in Moreno Valley, is among 1.4 million California students classified as an English learner. (Allan Gerson)
Some school districts had only a smattering of foreign-language speakers, somaybe that’s why no one tried to teach them English. In others, perhaps, it was difficult to find qualified staff — or these students weren’t the highest priority.
But up and down the state, for at least a decade, according to the federal government, tens of thousands of English learners in elementary, middle and high school received no services to help them learn the language and keep up academically while they did, even though the law required that they get it.
Under pressure from a lawsuit and federal authorities, California pledged Friday to make sure that all 1.4 million students who are English learners receive special academic help.
The settlement with the U.S. Justice Department echoes the earlier resolution of a lawsuit covering the same ground, but goes further in establishing the state’s role to ensure that these students receive high-quality instruction.
For years, California had been allowing school districts to avoid giving needed and legally required help to thousands of students with a limited ability to speak English, according to the Justice Department and civil rights advocates. The school districts even acknowledged the problem in documents routinely filed with the state.
When challenged on why California tolerated these violations, state officials insisted they had met legal oversight obligations by collecting data and by directing districts to comply with the law.
Under the settlement, state officials continue to deny that they ever did anything wrong, but they have agreed to change.
The state now commits to notifying school systems and independently operated charter schools within 60 days when it determines they are failing to serve English learners State agrees to make sure English learners receive help - LA Times: