California ‘Failing’ English Learners

A California judge has ruled that it is the state’s obligation to ensure that school disticts provide language instruction to English language learners (ELLs), and that so far California has failed nearly 20,000 underserved ELL students. Three students, their parents, and a retired administrator sued the State of California, the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education and Superintendent Tom Torlakson for neglecting to provide adequate instruction for students whose native language is not English in the case D.J. et al v. State of California. The ACLU of California, Public Counsel and Asian Americans Advancing Justice compiled California Department of Education data to argue that state education officials were negligent and that 251 school districts denied instruction to identified ELLs. Judge James Chalfant’s ruling points out that one in four California public school students is ELL identified.

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