CA reaches settlement with 6 schools over no-instruction classes
LA School Report | November 5, 2015
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The state Board of Education today approved a settlement in a lawsuit brought on behalf of students who lost valuable learning time because they were placed in classes that lacked any instructional value.
Under the agreement reached in Cruz v. State of California, the state will provide immediate assistance to six high schools, including three in LA Unified — Fremont, Jefferson and Dorsey — to ensure they comply with a new state law that limits impediments to learning time.
The other schools affected are Castlemont and Fremont in Oakland and Compton High School.
“No child’s time in school is disposable,” said Kathryn Eidmann, a staff attorney with Public Counsel, which filed the suit last year along with ACLU Foundation of Southern California. “The settlement in the Cruz case ensures that California’s most vulnerable students will no longer be sent home or warehoused in contentless classes, and it communicates the message that the promise of equal education requires no less than a full day of instruction for all of California’s students.”
The settlement will require state education officials to:
- Offer technical assistance and support in response to any instances at the six high schools over the next two years where there are large scale scheduling problems or significant numbers of students are assigned to fake classes.
- Modify the statewide student information system to track whenever a school assigns students to fake classes. Currently, no such record exists.
- Issue a policy alert advising all California districts of the requirements under the new law, AB 1012.
Together with AB 1012, the settlement will ensure that students at low-income schools, such as Jessy Cruz, are provided the same equal access to educational opportunities regardless of zip code or income. Cruz, a senior at LA Unified’s Fremont High and the named plaintiff in the lawsuit, was placed in three classes that had no educational value, leaving him without the necessary credits to graduate.
“The resolution of this case helps put to bed the horrendous conditions that Jefferson and other schools faced and led to the temporary restraining order in this lawsuit,” said Mark A. Neubauer, an attorney with Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, who worked on the case.
A state court must still grant final approval to the settlement. Once granted, Public Counsel and ACLU SoCal will monitor the settlement and will engage in a public education campaign starting in the six schools identified in the settlement, and statewide once the new law, AB 1012, goes into effect next July.