By The Vanguard Staff
WASHINGTON, DC – The San Bernardino City Unified School District has settled with the U.S. Dept. of Justice after DOJ’s investigation found the district was “not providing English learners with the necessary services and supports to become fluent in English, or to meaningfully participate in core content classes like math, science or social studies.”
The district agreed to improve its services to English learners so they can have access to the same crucial educational opportunities as their peers, per the settlement agreement.
The DOJ said its civil rights probe “identified failures to ensure that all teachers providing English language instruction were qualified…teachers of core subjects like math, science and social studies were often not trained and qualified to provide the support that English learner students need to learn grade-level material.”
The settlement maintains the district will provide language instruction to English learners to help them develop fluency in English, and will ensure that its teachers are trained and certified to provide that instruction.
The DOJ said the district has also agreed to provide training to teachers of core classes, such as math, science and social studies, on the use of tools that help English learners understand the content of those courses.
The district will, notes the settlement, also “effectively monitor student progress and identify whether students need additional services or supports to guarantee that English learners have access to gifted and talented programs and advanced courses, including Advanced Placement classes.”
The DOJ statement adds it will monitor the district for three years to ensure it is in compliance with the settlement.
“Education is a fundamental part of achieving the American dream, but for many students learning English across the country, their school districts do not provide the services and support they need,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Clarke added, “The Civil Rights Division will fight to hold districts to their obligations under federal law to provide all their students, regardless of language ability, with a full and meaningful education.”
“Federal laws protect the rights of English learners to fully participate in the classroom,” said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California.
Estrada added, “Today’s agreement is an important step in ensuring that students learning English receive the programming they need to progress towards fluency and to participate in school on an equal basis with their peers. This agreement will improve the services and support offered to English learners.”