Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Feds Investigate California’s Treatment of ELLs

A year ago, civil rights groups sued the state of California, alleging that the state was failing to provide thousands of English Language Learners with proper language instruction.

Southern California Public Radio reports that after the lawsuit was filed an official from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Decision sent a letter raising concerns to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and California Board of Education President Mike Kirst. 

The official, Chief of the Educational Opportunities Section, Anurima Bhargava, wrote that the state’s data suggested that districts were not providing special services to ELLs.

“These data also suggest that districts openly report their non-compliance to the State each year because they believe the State has implicitly condoned,” Bhargava wrote. 

The media report said the correspondence was contained in court filings related to the lawsuit. The report noted that federal officials sent another letter later saying that they still were concerned California education officials were not providing language services to all ELLs.