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Judge rules California must educate all non-English-speaking students

Posted: August 14, 2014 4:54 p.m.
Updated: August 14, 2014 4:54 p.m.

A Los Angeles judge has ordered the state of California to educate all children who don’t speak English, saying it needs to take action after reports showed a quarter of school districts failed to meet that state and federal requirement.

Judge James Chalfant said this week the California Department of Education needed to figure out the best way to enforce the law and make sure English instruction is provided in a state where more than a fifth of students are deficient in English.

“You’ve got to go ferret this out because you can’t have even one child that isn’t getting their instructional services,” Chalfant said. “You have a report that 20,000 aren’t getting their instructional services. That’s not good enough.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented three Spanish-speaking Compton students in the lawsuit, claimed language barriers held students back a grade or led to low test scores.

The ACLU brought the suit after finding figures on the state Education Department’s website that showed 20,300 English learners were not given language instruction. The numbers were reported to the state by school districts statewide as part of a census.

Named in the ACLU’s report was the William S. Hart Union High School District.

According to that report, the Hart district failed to provide English-language educational services to 1,142 of its 2,118 English-language-learning students in the 2010-2011 school year.

“An internal investigation determined that the issue involved a reporting glitch and not a failure to deliver services,” district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker wrote in an email Thursday.

“English learners receiving services in Structured English Immersion were not coded correctly and appeared as receiving no service,” she wrote.

When coded correctly, the district’s data for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 “reported that fewer than three students total were receiving no services,” Pinsker said.

“Our English-learner students continue to receive appropriate services aimed at increasing their success in school and proficiency in English.”

Statewide, 251 school districts reported deficiencies in educating English learners. They ranged from Los Angeles Unified School District, which said it didn’t educate 4,150 of 194,904 English learners, to Twain Harte-Long Barn Union Elementary in the Sierra foothills, which failed to teach its lone English learner, according to the ACLU.




chefgirl358: Posted: August 15, 2014 1:29 a.m.

Send them all back to where they came from, problem solved. People shouldn't be allowed to live permanently in any country where they can't speak the basic aspects of the language. And that includes Americans living in foreign countries.

bobforte: Posted: August 15, 2014 9:33 a.m.

YOu can keep them here, but just speak in English only. They will adapt. If not, they can go elsewhere.

garyr: Posted: August 15, 2014 11:38 a.m.

Did either of read the article? The judge found that the schools were not teaching them English - which is what you say you want. The majority come from *here*, "sending them back to where they came from" doesn't make any sense. And if they came from Arizona or Texas we don't get to deport them back there.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 15, 2014 12:07 p.m.

Garyr, you seriously believe that American born kids don't speak English? No, it's the illegals scampering across the border, mooching our medical and educational services to the extent that they're both on the verge of collapsing. They are taking precious time away from American children to learn. Our schools were at the top of the union 20 years ago and now we are about dead last, along with the other border states. Tell me they have this problem in MN, WI, and NE and then I'll believe your theory.

frankjustice: Posted: August 15, 2014 12:32 p.m.

At the rate they are coming in now and being relocated throughout the country these problems that were once limited to the southern border states will be a national problem.

itzreality: Posted: August 15, 2014 12:33 p.m.

Let's also not forget the billions upon billions of educational dollars taken away from our children so these illegals can learn English. It is truly amazing how these non-english speakers (most illegals) have more rights than we do! (All around) The ACLU should also start fighting for us also!!!

chefgirl358: Posted: August 15, 2014 9:40 p.m.

Itzreality, DITTO!

garyr: Posted: August 15, 2014 10:02 p.m.

Most of the kids still struggling with English in our schools were born in the USA. Maybe their parents or grandparents weren't. But most (not all) are native born citizens. "Send them back to Africa" is a still popular view amongst tea aficionados - I understand that. Actually - not really but I know it exists. But it is not possible, practical or sensible in any way. Most of these children are not from Africa. They are from here. They don't speak any African language, they don't have relatives that would take care of them in Africa. If you just deport them and "let God sort them out" many will simply die, others will be child soldiers or child brides or just slaves. Maybe that's totally OK with you. It's not OK with me.

DMeyer: Posted: August 16, 2014 11:39 a.m.

Africa? Really garyr? Are you talking about the thousands upon thousands of African children that left their homes and families and are flooding across the borders into Texas, Arizona, and California?

Get a clue.

cj64: Posted: August 16, 2014 11:52 p.m.

TO Speak English, press 1
To Speak Spanish, go back to Mexico.

johnnyrock: Posted: August 19, 2014 10:51 a.m.

I was 2 years old when we moved here from Holland, my mom went to night school to learn english, worked and took care of us four kids on her own. I refuse to learn to speak spanish I agree, if you are going to live here learn the language.

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