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Protecting the Right to Education in California. Information Courtesy Brooks Allen Director of Education Advocacy, ACLU of Southern California. Education is a fundamental right under the California Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled that there is

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protecting the right to education in california
Protecting the Right to Education in California

Information Courtesy Brooks Allen

Director of Education Advocacy, ACLU of Southern California

slide2

Education is a fundamental right

under the California Constitution.

The Supreme Court has ruled that there is

no right to education under the

federal Constitution.

slide3

“[a] general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence [is] . . . essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people . . . .”

- Article IX, Section 1 of the California Constitution

Public education is “uniquely a fundamental concern of the State and prohibits maintenance and operation of the common public school system in a way which denies basic educational equality to the students."

- Butt v. California (1992).

slide5
May 17, 2000 on the 46th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

Class-action lawsuit filed by ACLU, civil rights groups, and attorneys on behalf of students from 18 schools located throughout California.

Charged State of California with failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide all students with the bare essentials necessary for education.

Charged California with violating state and federal requirements that equal access to education be provided without regard to race, color, or national origin.

Press Conference to announce filing of

Williams v. California

slide6
Lack of Instructional Materials
  • Degraded, Overcrowded, and Unsafe Facilities
  • Lack of Qualified Teachers
slide7
Too few textbooks or other necessary instructional materials

Outdated, beat-up, or defaced textbooks

Lack of lab science equipment

No homework due to lack of materials

slide8
Broken or nonexistent AC or heating systems; extremely hot or cold classrooms
  • Unrepaired, hazardous facilities, including broken windows, walls, and ceilings; leaky roofs and mold
  • Locked, non-functioning, or disgustingly dirty bathrooms
slide9
Vermin infestations

Rats, mice, cockroaches, etc.

slide10
Water fountains were broken or non-existent
  • Photo shows a water fountain at STF public school in Fall, 2012
slide11

Jefferson High School

Los Angeles, CA

(Picture taken in 2000)

slide12

Luther Burbank Middle School

San Francisco, CA

(Picture taken circa 2000)

slide13

Mark Keppel High

Monterey Park, CA

Luther Burbank Middle School

San Francisco, CA

slide14
As few as 13% of teachers with full teaching credentials
  • Teacher absences were never filled and students had a long chain of substitute teachers
  • Students learning English had teachers that weren’t qualified to teach them
slide17
Established standards
  • Created and improved accountability systems
  • Provides $1 billion to help schools meet standards

WHAT DID THE WILLIAMS SETTLEMENT DO?

slide18

THE DECISION IN WILLIAMS

  • Apply to all schools
  • “Sufficient” - Each pupil must have a textbook or instructional materials, or both, to use in class and to take home.
  • “Good repair” requires that “the facility is maintained in a manner that assures that it is clean, safe, and functional” (Facility Inspection Tool (FIT))
  • Teacher “misassignments” and “teacher vacancies”
  • District self-checks, Williams Complaint Process, COE visits and reviews of decile 1-3 schools
slide19

Students, Teachers, Parents & Guardians:

  • Pursuant to California Education Code Section 35186,
  • you are hereby notified that:
  • There should be sufficient textbooks and instructional materials. That means each pupil, including English learners, must have a textbook or instructional materials, or both, to use in class and to take home.
  • School facilities must be clean, safe, and maintained in good repair.
  • There should be no teacher vacancies or misassignments. There should be a teacher assigned to each class and not a series of substitutes or other temporary teachers. The teacher should have the proper credential to teach the class, including the certification required to teach English learners if present.
  • A complaint form may be obtained at the school office, district office, or downloaded from the school’s Web site at (Web site address). You may also download a copy of the California Department of Education complaint form from the following Web site: http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/ce/wc/index.asp.

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS POSTER?

The Williams settlement requires this notice be posted inside every classroom in California.

Everyone has a right to file a complaint if their rights under the case are violated.

slide21
Massive state budget deficits
    • Governor’s proposed “trigger cut” would cut $4.8 billion from k-14 schools (per pupil funding cut additional 6%)
    • School year could be reduced by up to 20 days in some school districts– down to 160 school days

FAST FORWARD TO NOW

slide22
California

ranks 46th

in spending per pupil

Gap grew over last ten years – To reach the national average in per-pupil spending, California would have to spend an additional $17.3 billion on education – that’s an increase of 32.1%.

slide23

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

  • 1/3 districts have cut school days – 49% of HS
  • Programs eliminated – summer school (65% of HS at least reduced), counselors, art and music, libraries, professional development, etc.
  • 32% of high schools report reducing tutoring and other after-school support services.
slide24
California lost 34,000 teachers (11% of all teachers in the State) between 2007-08 and 2010-11.
  • Increasing class sizes...

WHAT’S AT STAKE

slide25
California

now ranks 50th in

in class sizes

(The highest number of students

per teacher in the country)

slide26

PUBLIC EDUCATION in California is a RIGHT, yet…

In some cases students and families are still asked to pay unconstitutional fees for joining athletic teams, required school activities, uniforms, and mandatory equipment

  • This makes education a commodity for sale, rather than a right for all.
  • It disadvantages students whose families cannot afford to pay.
slide27

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Research & Educate

Take Action

Local + State Advocacy

slide28

 Brooks Allen

Director of Education Advocacy

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (ACLU)

1313 West Eighth Street

Los Angeles, CA 90017

(213) 977-5269

ballen@aclu-sc.org

Information and some images courtesy