Jorge Rivas of ColorLines is reporting that a 19-month investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights found that the Los Angeles Unified School District is failing to provide an equal education to English learners and black students. The school district has agreed to sweeping reforms that could become a model for other school districts around the country.
LAUSD is the nation's second-largest school system and has more students learning English than any other district in the United States — about 195,000 students, or 29 percent of the district's overall enrollment, according to the Los Angeles Times. Black students make up an estimated 10 percent of the district's enrollment.
The Department of Education did not find that the school system intentionally discriminated against ESL and black students. The settlement requires a top-to-bottom revision of the district's Master Plan for English Learners, which is already well under way. L.A. Unified also agreed to provide students learning English and black students with more effective teachers.
Improved teaching would result from "ongoing and sustained" training. The goal is to let the district develop the details under continuing oversight from the Office for Civil Rights, a branch of the Education Department.
We're glad that the Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights stepped in and are doing something to end discrimination, which can result in poor performance, which leads to high dropout rates. Kids should have equal access to education, and the fact that so many students in public school systems throughout the country are suffering because of a lack of resources, trained professionals and competent administrators is unacceptable.
Read more at ColorLines.
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