The state Department of Education fed the ACLU bad data, suggests the Grossmont Union High School District in a response to accusations by that and another activist group.
According to a statement released Thursday [attached as PDF], an error in state data led the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center to accuse the district of not giving English-language learners the help they need.
The groups this week sent a letter to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the state Board of Education, threatening to sue unless English-language classes were provided to non-native speakers in the Grossmont and other districts in compliance with state and federal law.
“Each additional day an EL child goes without language instructional services is another day that child is effectively foreclosed from a meaningful education,” said Jessica Price, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California.
“The children who are neglected today, in schools with no EL services, become the long-term English learners of tomorrow, sometimes struggling their entire school careers without anyone stepping in to make sure they have the tools to learn,” she said.
But the Grossmont district rebutted that idea, saying district data made it look as if 1,300 English-learning students were not getting the help they needed.
“This is false and reflects a data reporting problem,” according to a district statement. “GUHSD will work with the California Department of Education to better align our data to CDE’s classifications.
“The Grossmont Union High School District serves more than 3,300 English Learner students. The 1,300 English Learner students in question are in fact proficient enough to be enrolled in mainstream English classes and receive extra support.”
The four-paragraph statement concluded: “The Grossmont Union High School District has been committed to enhancing and expanding services to our ever-growing English Learner population.”
The ACLU is being contacted for its response.
—City News Service contributed to this report.