September 10, 2015
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Lawsuit Settlement That Will Add to California Department of Education's Extensive Efforts to Help English Learners
SACRAMENTO—As part of the settlement of a lawsuit involving English learners, D.J., et al. v. State of California, et al., State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced he is seeking funding from the Legislature and the Department of Finance for three positions within the California Department of Education (CDE) to ensure English learners are receiving quality instruction.
"Serving English learners, who make up nearly one-quarter of our public school students, is one of my top priorities," Torlakson said. "We are eager to carry out the terms of this settlement, including adding staff and providing additional guidance to districts, so together we can make sure English learners get the support they deserve."
The settlement, Torlakson said, describes several steps the CDE will take to ensure all English learners receive instruction. These include sending additional reminders to local educational agencies of their legal obligation to provide English learners with appropriate language instruction, modifying the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System to make it easier to determine whether a course provides English learner instructional services, and modifying the way CDE monitors English learner programs.
During Torlakson's administration, the CDE has taken a number of steps to better serve English learners, including creating an English Learner Support Division and becoming the first state in the nation to integrate the framework for English Language Development with English Language Arts, which equips teachers with the tools to help English learners master English sooner, while keeping up with other subjects.
In addition, CDE has provided extensive professional development for teachers instructing English learners, established a special unit to monitor services for English learners, and established the nation's first State Seal of Biliteracy to be affixed to diplomas of graduating seniors who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and, writing one or more languages in addition to English.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100