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Federal Civil Rights Investigators to Look at LAUSD

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Photo by Wm Jas via Flickr
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The federal government wants to know if the nation's second-largest school district "denied educational opportunities to students learning English," according to the Daily News. The Department of Education's civil rights branch is expected to launch an investigation focused on schools in Southeast LA and the west San Fernando Valley to determine if they are complying with expectations of equal opportunity in regards to providing instruction to English-language learners.The endeavor, a "compliance review," is spearheaded by Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who is in Los Angeles today hosting a news conference and town hall meeting. We are going to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement," he said recently regarding the review.

In response, the LAUSD says they are ready for the look into their schools. Superintendent Ramon Cortines said: "We welcome the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights' compliance review and we expect to cooperate fully during this time," adding that should the results determine students are being inadequately served, the district "will work hard to make those improvements."

The investigators will be looking specifically "on whether the district provides students struggling with English, especially in high school, with equal access to courses and if they're given effective learning tools." About a third, or approximately 220,000, of LAUSD students are English learners.