The California Department of Education could be sued if it doesn't take action to ensure all school districts are offering adequate instruction to English learners, according to civil rights groups.
State data shows that 20,318 English learners attending California schools don't receive any of the instructional services required. The data was submitted by school distircts for the 2010-11 school year, the most recent year available.
The American Civil Liberties Union of California, The Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the law firm of Latham and Watkins held a joint press conference in Los Angles this morning to announce their intent to file a suit if state education officials don't act immediately to fix the problem.
The group issued a report that lists 251 school districts that do not offer any of the required services to at least some of their English language students. Twin Rivers Unified was listed among the 15 districts with the most English learners not receiving services. The district, which has 8,852 English learners, does not offer services to 5 percent of that population - 407 students, according to the report.
Wheatland Union High School District in Yuba County, on the other hand, has the highest percentage of unserved English learners in the state, with 85 percent unserved. The district has only 27 English learners, but only offer four of them classes for English learners.
Rescue Union Elementary School District also makes the report's list with 30 percent of its English learners not receiving services. The district has 131 English language learners.
"Each additional day an EL child goes without language instructional services is another day that child is effectively foreclosed from a meaningful education," said Jessica Price, staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California in a written statement. "The children who are neglected today, in schools with no EL services, become the long-term English learners of tomorrow, sometimes struggling their entire school careers without anyone stepping in to make sure they have the tools to learn."