LAUSD Agrees to Revise How English Learners, Blacks Are Taught

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2011

The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to sweeping revisions in the way it teaches students learning English, as well as black youngsters, settling a federal civil rights investigation that examined whether the district was denying the students a quality education.

The settlement closes what was the Obama administration’s first civil rights investigation launched by the Department of Education, and officials said Tuesday that it would serve as a model for other school districts around the country.

{snip}

The agreement poses a potential financial problem for the school district, which has faced multimillion-dollar budget cuts and layoffs over the last few years.

The Education Department launched the probe last year, at first to determine if students who entered school speaking limited English, most of whom are Latino, were receiving adequate instruction. The nation’s second-largest school system has more students learning English, about 195,000, than any other in the United States–about 29% of the district’s overall enrollment. Later, at the urging of local activists, investigators widened the probe to include black students, who make up about 10% of the district’s enrollment.

{snip}

Under the settlement, the district for the first time will focus on the academic progress of students judged to have adequately learned English. Many of these students subsequently flounder academically. {snip}

L.A. Unified also agreed to provide students learning English and black students with more effective teachers. Improved teaching would result from “ongoing and sustained” training, among other potential efforts, Ali said.

{snip} The district will be judged in large measure by student performance data. The ultimate sanction for not living up to the agreement would be withholding or withdrawing federal funds, Ali said.

{snip}

Under federal law, discrimination can exist even when it is not intentional, based on the levels of opportunity afforded students through even well-meaning policies and practices.

{snip}

Black students were not part of the initial inquiry, but were added to placate activists, who pointed out that African American students were, by some measures, performing at lower levels than Latino students.

For that part of the inquiry, investigators compared resources at schools that serve a substantially black enrollment with those that serve a substantially white student body. They found disparities in technology and library resources, among other things.

{snip}

Addressing this issue will be complicated. Schools that serve low-income minority students typically start with more government funding than schools serving middle-class populations. But schools in more prosperous neighborhoods rely heavily on local parent fundraising and have lower costs related to security and vandalism, among other factors.

{snip}

Federal officials are also demanding that the district address the high proportion of black students who are suspended and expelled.

“I was aghast at how disproportionately African American students are disciplined in this district,” Ali said, especially in middle schools.

{snip}

A 2001 initiative to help black students evolved into a measure to help black and Latino students, which eventually merged with general efforts to improve academic programs. In 2007, the district convened what was billed as a landmark conference of experts on students with limited English skills.

There has been progress, based on test scores and other parameters, but results indicate that most students don’t reach academic proficiency–and English learners and black students are especially lagging, along with disabled students.

In L.A. Unified, 29% of students learning English are proficient in math. Among African American students, 38% are proficient in English.

{snip}

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  • Anonymous

    Latinos took over almost all of southern California. Let them fix the problems. My tax dollars should not go to fund the education of a foreign people who came here without my permission, or desire. Americans are people who have American values – values that go way back.

    Any foreigner is welcome to assimilate and I won’t have a problem with them. But if a foreign person comes here, refuses to learn the language of my country or adopt its rythmns and cultural values, then how can I consider him or her a fellow countrymen?

    If I go to China (wait, scratch that, they don’t allow immigration into China) or Mexico to live forever, and refuse to learn the language or adopt the local customs, would the locals embrace me with open arms? I don’t think so.

    But only in America do we allow foreigners to occupy our territory, wave their flags, profess allegiance to their home countries AND we are forced to pay for our own dispossession. That’s the liberal political platform for ya.

  • generalquagmyer

    “Schools that serve low-income minority students typically start with more government funding than schools serving middle-class populations. But schools in more prosperous neighborhoods… have lower costs related to security and vandalism, among other factors.

    “Federal officials are also demanding that the district address the high proportion of black students who are suspended and expelled.”

    Ummmm… Hello??? Isn’t the answer to the latter issue imbedded in the body of the article?!

  • Anonymous

    Of course they’ll fail and lose federal money. This will greatly assist the entire region in becoming a non-U.S. enclave. I wonder when the Beverly Hills, Orange County crowds are going to notice?

  • ice

    Well, they might as well concentrate on anything that is going to add to their out-of-control costs, because the state of Calif. only has a 25 billion dollar shortfall, while LA County is in even worse shape. Just too insignificant to worry about, isn’t it?

    They’ve been spending money as if they’re in the midst of a boom.

    Can you imagine what would happen if the state found it necessary to step in and take over management as has been necessary with a couple other counties and cities?

    How would a bankrupt state help a bankrupt county/city to stay alive? And how would a nearly bankrupt federal government help either one of them?

    We’re going to be in for some really bad economic times, and we won’t have long to wait. I’m pretty sure we will also soon be watching California fighting and burning in living color on the boob tube.

  • NBJ

    For that part of the inquiry, investigators compared resources at schools that serve a substantially black enrollment with those that serve a substantially white student body. They found disparities in technology and library resources, among other things.

    Do those disparities among other things include lower IQ’s? No technology, library resources, or money can fix that, but these fools will never admit it.

  • SWART GEVAAR

    If blacks can’t read, it is the white man’s burden.

    If blacks kill each other, it is the white man’s burden’

    If white men let black men live with them, and then the black man isn’t happy, it is the white man’s burden.

    Damn, whites are stupid.

  • Ken

    Here we go again. Low IQ=poor academic performance. That is the ugly truth. I suspect there will be widespread cheating in order to boost test scores. If only our politicians and academics could be honest with the minorities by be honest about IQ and not imbue them with unrealistic expectations and blame their poor performance on “white racism”..

  • Anonymous

    How much more money will be wasted before the deficiencies are finally accepted as inherent? Blacks and Hispanics are not the future but rather the down fall of this country. In the meanwhile, the middle class whites are getting cheated out of a decent education. The common man is the backbone of society.

    Absolute Insanity.

  • HH

    Okay, so when THIS scheme fails in a few years – and it WILL fail – what will be the excuse then? One wonders just how many times, or for how long this cycle to nowhere can repeat itself. Sadly, I think we know the answer…

  • Melvin

    Good Luck with this one.

    If it were a song the song would be Impossible Dream.

    They couldn’t teach them with billions now they have some new plan that will work just as well.

    blacks don’t want to be educated, they just want to wander the road of Freebies.

    The Hispanics in many cases are interested in bettering themselves but will they? Who Knows?

  • Rhialto

    During the Eisenhower administration, when Fedgov funding of pubic schools was being debated in Congress, opponents claimed that fedgov money would give the fedgov control over these schools. The proponents scoffed at this anti-liberal nonsense, claiming that the fedgov would never ever dictate school policies. There was an education gap with Russia that only massive funding could ungap.

    The anti-liberals were right, as usual.

    Russlynn Ali, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, is your president’s liberal agenda enforcer for schools.

  • Bill R

    38% of African Americans are proficient in their OWN language? That says it all right there. And they think there is any hope for this retarded race? Other than teaching them a trade, kicking out the mestizos who take such jobs, and forcing them to work and be productive at the natural level they are capable of?

  • Anonymous

    About 30 years ago or so, Professor Arthur R. Jensen proposed a

    model of Level I and Level II learning, a neo-Pavlovian concept that probably came in part from his close collaborations over many decades with the late Hans Eysenck. This was soon brought back to the drawing board to be reformulated in terms of Spearman’s “g”. A key relevance of a sense of Level I and Level II for teaching Blacks was a curriculum that could be realistically focused, would involve a lot of repetition/reinforcement and would be graduated into small steps, not giant steps. In fact, today in the federal Department of Labor Job Corps centers, this sort of “programmed” instruction via computer terminals is the core element, teachers rather supplementing and guiding and stimulating performance. Relevant to the general population, the Job Corps students taking such instruction are very disproportionately Black. No one mentions Jensen or Black/White differences. And the program is not a panacea, but it has yielded better results for more children than pie-in-the-sky egalitarian formulations that are purport to abolish “racism” by first of all abolishing realism.

  • sbuffalonative

    What hasn’t been tried? Has anything worked?

    The Buffalo News runs personal editorial pieces. One elderly Polish gentleman wrote about his experience in Buffalo Public Schools when he arrived in Buffalo as a child speaking only Polish.

    Other than teachers learning a few Polish words to communicate with non-English speaking Poles, he and others were expected, without any special instruction, to learn in English. And they did.

    He was grateful that he had gone through the process. He knew both English and Polish and was able to help his non-English speaking parents in their new homeland (to which they were PROUD to have emigrated).

    Contrast this with the sob and pity stories we get from Hispanics today as to why they can’t succeed in school.

    And they refer to Pollocks as dumb. Go figure.

  • Anonymous

    Finally, the solution to the intelligence gap!

  • Ben

    “Under federal law, discrimination can exist even when it is not intentional, based on the levels of opportunity afforded students through even well-meaning policies and practices.”

    Equal opportunity has morphed into the idea that each person have an equal background or “starting point” in which similar opportunity can arise rather then an equal chance allowed by an institution where discrimination won’t bar someone from entering or preforming.

    A classical libertarian argument which allows someone to succeed or fail based upon individual merit has shifted into a Marxist one that attempts to attain equal result by trying to either change the system or force everyone at the same starting points-both which are impossible.

    Though I can’t speak with certainty (since I wasn’t alive back then), the founding fathers might have meant when they said that all men are created equal, that all men are given the same opportunity-equality to do achieve.

    Or maybe I’m wrong.

    Because, I remember that “they (or one of them?)” stated that “All men are created equal under god.” Which would allude to the idea of a biological egalitarianism where men are biologically equal (merit) only under that of a supernatural being (who is biologically superior and laws supposedly supersede our own).

    I would hope it meant that not all men are created equal by merit but each man would have a fair shot and be allowed the opportunity to succeed or fail based upon individual merit- which is why all men are created equal under law.

    Because only law can bring some sense fairness of play in a unequal world where a girdler’s son might have shot against that a plantation owner’s son.

  • Anonymous

    Ref. 14. The interlaced pattern of what works has long been

    known from honest on-site scrutiny of schools–of those that get fairly good results/ of those that fall short chronically. The

    issue is that what works to yield educational results does NOT work to confirm egalitarianism or Blank Slate mythology or neo-Lysenko “psychology” that continues to bubble forth in the MSM and in classrooms in Skools of Educash-in to refute and destroy

    (for the 300th time!) the findings of genuine scientists like Jensen, Rushton, Gottfredson, and others. What works, confirms the stark shorthand statement of the late William Shockley that success (in school, in employment, in life adjustment) is “color-coded” and the outcomes on a level playing field are what our ancestors would have confidently estimated them to be. There is useful differentiation: Black students on average would benefit much much more than Whites in having firm and consistent discipline and in having the sort of “wolf pack hierarchy” the old one room frontier school houses had in which, by necessity, older children helped / and controlled/ the younger while the appointed teacher/”teacher” oversaw and more or less coordinated the whole show. The very high testosterone flooding Black males experience in adolescence onset, very much commend gender segregation for educational efficacy. Whole-hog demockcrazy is some Marxian “insight” of what Blacks need and truly want. As Booker T. Washington appears to have realized and advocated, Blacks (overall IQ average of 85) are well served by having a right side Black Bell Curve emphasis upon skilled trade training that includes the basics of reading and writing and makes the provision inevitably for a much higher ceiling of offerings for those Black students that occasionally can clear, or at least leave standing, the Mensa low hurdles.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    What hasn’t been tried? Has anything worked?

    –sbuffalonative

    You took the words right out of my…fingertips!!

    What hasn’t been tried?!

    The Cato Institute reports:

    Failed education programs have cost American taxpayers $1.85 trillion since 1965

    Have any of the following worked?

    *Left Brain- Right Brain Strategies

    *Self-esteem

    *Alternative or Authentic Assessment

    *Values Clarification and Moral Dilemmas

    *Critical Thinking Skills

    *Whole Language

    *Metacognition

    *Multiple Intelligence

    All of these programs — and this is the short list — have proved incapable of achieving their stated goals.

    Then, there is the massive boondoggle, NCLB. Has NCLB proved more effective than past educational programs? Has it had ANY effect?

    Let the data speak for itself:

    According to the NAEP’s Nation’s Report Card series of tests, 4th- grade reading scores increased by less than one-half of 1 percent of the 500-point scale between 2002 and 2007; 8th grade, students’ reading scores fell by one point (0.2 percent of the score scale) between 2002 and 2007, and the black–white score gap remained unchanged.

    Easy Answer: NO

    L.A. Unified agreed to provide students learning English and black students with more effective teachers. Improved teaching would result from ‘ongoing and sustained’ training.

    Another billion dollar program is in the works, ready to be rolled out by next summer for the next round of teacher professional developments. We teachers will be told it is “research-based”, “data-based” and “brain-based” and that this time it will work!!

    Yawn!! Where are my new Dr. Dre headphones? The ones I confiscated from a kid after telling her repeatedly NOT to bring them to school?

    investigators compared resources at schools that serve a substantially black enrollment with those that serve a substantially white student body

    I defy the LA Times to name one school in the LAUSD that is “substantially White.”

    I wracked my brain and I could not come up with one. Not one. I’m not sure if there are ANY White students left in the entire system. And if there be, woe unto them!!

    Bon

  • sbuffalonative

    18 — Bon, From the Land of Babble:

    The mother of all uplift programs was integrated schools.

    We were told that when blacks attended White schools, black achievement would soar. When that didn’t work, they told us blacks weren’t learning because they didn’t get a good breakfast. Do you remember the ads that used to run about breakfast being the most important meal of the day? Then free lunches. Then the claim that blacks were exposed to lead. Institutional racism. The legacy of Slavery and Jim Crow. White teachers were open or covert racists and they said blacks needed black teachers. Then black administrators. Then black principles. Then black school boards. Then blacks couldn’t learn because they were a minority in White classrooms. Ebonics. Self-esteem programs. Naming schools with absurd titles such as ‘The Martin Luther King JR Academy of High Achievement and Success’. Then circular learn. Then the need for a black learning style. Etc.

    I’ve said it before. There’s always a new theory to explain why the last theory (which was supposed to be the magic bullet) didn’t work which needs another new magic bullet theory which won’t work.

    I suspect we’re going to have to go through every theory until there are no more. What we’ll be left with is the truth; race is a genetic reality and the expression of genes largely determines abilities in a wide variety of life skills.

  • Anonymous

    Some thoughts:

    Why would blacks have a worse time with English than Latinos? Surely this could not be related to IQs? or culture? Or family formation?

    Since everything that can be tried has been tried, will the education establishment face reality about the racial aspect of this magilla? Or is the USA that deluded by ideology. (Hint: probably the latter.)

    Also be interesting to see how, with the growth of third world populations, the USA is going to end up with a racial hierarchy in graduates. This was not an issue when the country was 90+% white, but the future just may be something like a de facto caste system, What will that do for democracy?

    Meantime, whatever happened to that goal of exploring outer space which was part and parcel of the American education boom of the mid-20th century?

    I suspect there will be widespread cheating in order to boost test scores.

    The disturbing thing is that this is probably the most realistic solution. Pass out the “Bs” and “As” and just smile and go along. The only way to get the fedgov out of the picture.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    The mother of all uplift programs was integrated schools.

    –sbuffalonative

    Yes, of course! But I’ve always believed that integration was done not to uplift blacks but to destroy Whites.

    The demise of the American educational system came about when Bill Ayers-types, trained in the Frankfort and Boas schools of radical egalitarianism and multi-culutalism, “marched through the institution” and seized control from top to bottom.

    From then on, the dogma became: IQ does not exist. All students are equally capable of achieving equally. Student failure is due to White oppression.

    To question this dogma is to commit heresy; the consequences dire.

    It is from this dogma that repeated billion dollar programs have been introduced to close the black-White gap; each, of course, destined to fail because “there is no such thing as IQ!”

    Failure is always blamed on entrenched racism or White oppression.

    And so it goes, 1.85 trillion dollars later, around and around on an endless Möbius strip!

    Bon

  • lost angeles

    I’ve tried to teach in LAUSD for many years and the powers that be have never and will never ever address the fact that the vast majority of students refuse to do homework or classwork and are hostile, or at least antagonistic, to the learning environment. This is how they keep the money rolling in. Hack at the branches and pretend the roots do not exist. Wonder why asian students are not part of the underachievers?

  • Anonymous

    Though I can’t speak with certainty (since I wasn’t alive back then), the founding fathers might have meant when they said that all men are created equal, that all men are given the same opportunity-equality to do achieve.

    ———————————–

    The Founders were talking to and about their own kindred,(race, progeny). The White race were the ones they were referring to by “all men” are created equal” under the law (White man’s law)and/or of OUR God.

    . NOTHING they did was directed toward the blacks, mexicans, chinese, or any other race. They never dreamed they would ever be made citizens of this nation, much less number in the tens of millions and we willingly brought in millions more (immigration) and gave them all citizenship. It was the enemy who crept in and convinced later generations of White Americans that it was the “Christian” thing to do…They had to infiltrate the Churches first and that is where it started.