Tuesday, October 11, 2011


By Susan Abram Staff Writer | Daily Breeze | http://bit.ly/pzvdFy

10/10/2011 10:33:28 PM PDT - U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be in Los Angeles today to announce the results of a yearlong federal investigation into possible civil rights violations of English-language learners and black students in the LAUSD.

Duncan will share details of the investigation during today's regularly scheduled meeting of the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Superintendent John Deasy and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are slated to attend the meeting and explain how they intend to fix problems that were discovered through the probe.

The investigation started in March 2010 was aimed at determining if the nation's second-largest school district was providing English-language learners equal access to educational opportunities given other students.

The probe included evaluating how English-learning students were identified, what programs allowed them to learn fluent English, whether they had qualified teachers and if parents were included in the process.

If the district is found to be in violation, penalties could include a withholding of federal funds and possible court injunctions.

Schools in the west San Fernando Valley and southeast Los Angeles were among those examined, federal officials said when the probe began.

The district was one of 38 examined by the federal Office for Civil Rights.

About one-third of LAUSD students are English-language learners, but studies have found that only 3 percent of those students score at the proficient level in English and math in high school.

Data from the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program released last month reveals that 44 percent of all LAUSD students were proficient in English and 43 percent in math during the 2010-11 school year.

An achievement gap persists between Asian and white students on one end and black and Latino students on the other.

Test results showed that 75 percent of Asian students and 69 percent of white students were proficient in math compared with 39 percent of Latino students and 33 percent of black students.

After the federal government announced its probe into the LAUSD's English-language learners, several civil rights groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League and the Black Educational Task Force, said the school district neglected its black students, and that any civil rights probe should include them as well.

The investigation was later expanded to include black students.

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