California's Department of Education sued for failing to assist English-learning students

Last week, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center announced that it had filed a lawsuit, with the American Civil Liberties Union, against the state of California on behalf of students, parents, and teachers to compel the state to provide services to English learners: California ignoring some English learners, lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, the state Education Department has ignored its obligation to make sure that thousands of students learning English receive adequate and legally required assistance. An estimated 20,000 students in California who need to learn English aren't getting adequate language instruction:

Advocates based their conclusions on information that school districts report to the state Department of Education. About 250 districts acknowledge they are providing no services or inappropriate language help to these students, and yet "the state of California does absolutely nothing in response," Price said.

The suit includes narratives, such as that of F.S., a student in the Compton Unified School District who was allegedly denied language help in third grade, failed most of his classes, and ultimately was retained. The next year, the same student, in the same school system, received help and "finally showed progress in his classes," according to advocates. Compton Unified is not a target of the litigation.

The suit was filed on behalf of six students and their guardians. They are remaining anonymous out of concern over possible retaliation from their local school systems, attorneys said. Also suing is Walt Dunlop, a former Oxnard Union High School District teacher who has worked with English learners and criticized his district's programs for them.
Here's an APALC blog post by Hyunhye Seo about her personal experiences with this issue: Tens of Thousands of English Learner Students Denied Services in California.

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