SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ California schools agreed to ensure language education for 1.4 million students who are designated as English learners under a federal settlement announced Friday.
The state Department of Education and Board of Education agreed to new training and monitoring procedures to make sure that language services to English Learner-designated students meet requirements of the federal Equal Educational Opportunities Act, according to an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.
The state, which cooperated with the Justice Department, had denied violations and didn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement.
Messages left for the Department of Education were not immediately returned.
The Justice Department said last year that California had failed to deal with reports from its public schools that indicated more than 20,000 of the estimated 1.4 million English Learner students hadn’t received proper instruction in the English language and other subjects. The allegations covered school periods dating back to the 2007-2008 school year.
“We applaud the state of California for working cooperatively with the Justice Department to ensure that all English Learner students can access the language services they need to learn,” Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with state officials to implement this important agreement and ensure full compliance in the months ahead.”
In 2014, a Los Angeles judge ordered the state to educate all children who don’t speak English after reports showed 20,000 students in a quarter of school districts failed to meet that state and federal requirement.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three Spanish-speaking Compton students. The suit alleged that language barriers held students back a grade or led to low test scores.