Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Arizona School District to Protect English Learner Students | OPA

Today the Justice Department announced a settlement agreement with the Coolidge Unified School District to resolve the department’s investigation into the school district’s programs for its English learner students.  The department’s investigation of the district found system-wide failures to provide the instruction, resources and teacher training that students need to master English, leaving them to struggle academically year after year.  The department conducted its investigation under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.

“Every child deserves an equal opportunity to excel in school. Where there are language barriers, schools have an obligation to do more to put students on an equal footing,” said  Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to enforce the law to make sure students who are learning English get the help they need to truly thrive in the classroom. We commend the district for entering into this agreement and look forward to working together so that the district’s English learner students can realize their full potential.”

Under the settlement agreement, the district will increase language instruction for English learner students so they can become fluent in English and understand the coursework in all of their academic subjects. The agreement also requires the district to provide robust teacher training, obtain the special materials and curricula that English learner students need to succeed academically, and actively evaluate students’ progress. The Justice Department will monitor the district’s implementation of the settlement for three full school years.

The enforcement of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 is a top priority of the Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt, and additional information about the work of the Educational Opportunities Section is available at https://www.justice.gov/crt/educational-opportunities-section.  Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations at https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/.

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