Children of Promise Preparatory Academy, a charter school in the Inglewood Unified School District is one of the schools that filed the lawsuit.
On Thursday February 20, 2020, in the Los Angeles Superior Court, 75 elementary public traditional and charter schools won a $53 million lawsuit settlement against the State of California for violating the students’ civil rights. The Ella T. vs. the State of California, lawsuit filed by students and their teachers two years ago claimed that the state denied the students their constitutional right to an equal access to a quality education because the students did not meet state standards in reading.
The lawsuit was filed by Public Counsel, a pro bono public interest law firm and the law firm of Morrison & Foerster. “We shouldn’t have to be filing lawsuits to establish a right to read. Achieving literacy for all children is one of the single most urgent issues in California, “This settlement is a milestone in that struggle,” said attorney Mark Rosenbaum from the Public Counsel law firm.
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According to a recent study conducted by Bohrnstedt, G., Kitmitto, S., Ogut, B., Sherman, D., and Chan, D. published by the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a significant positive correlation between school composition and black-white achievement gap.
Using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2011 Mathematics Grade 8 Assessment and the Common Core for 2010–11, the study found that while the achievement gap between white and black students remains significant overall with white students performing higher, the “achievement for both Black and White students was lower in the highest Black student density schools than in the lowest density schools. For Black students overall, and Black males in particular, achievement was still lower in the highest density schools than in the lowest density schools.”
Policy makers and educational practitioners should use the results of this study to inform both allocation of resources, and instructional practices in this environment of increasing resegregation of public schools.
NAEP is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 required all states to file an equity plan that explains their teacher assignments in order to ensure that strong teachers are placed in struggling schools and in schools in high poverty areas. However, 2006 is the last year that most states have submitted their plans. According to Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education in a call with reporters on Monday, “We are all dismayed by the lack of compliance. We’re saying this is critical for us.”
$4.2 million will be spent by the Obama Education Department to provide “technical assistance network” that will help states and districts develop and implement equity plans that highlight the causes of “their “excellent” teacher imbalance, craft a strategy to correct the problem and publicly report their progress”.