The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second-largest district in the country. It is also the one being targeted by the Department of Education, who announced that a 19-month civil rights investigation has led them to conclude that they are providing unequal education for minority children.
Currently, 32 percent of the black students in Los Angeles are ranked as proficient in English and only 9 percent in math. Even worse, only 5 percent of the English language learners ranked as proficient in either Math or English.
The school district has agreed to do two things: revamp it’s English-learning program and improve the education of black students.
“The achievement gap is the civil rights issue of our time, which is why everything we do at LAUSD and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools is geared toward protecting every child's right to learn and to prepare for life,” said Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The Department of Education also found that schools in predominantly black neighborhoods don’t have the technological or library resources needed to properly function. Additionally, black students are underrepresented in the “gifted and talented programs.” Black kids are, however, the ones who are most likely to be expelled or suspended from school.
“Though we still have a long way to go before we see that English-learner students and African-American students are consistently getting what they need to perform up to their fullest potential, I’m confident today’s agreement will help address the causes of concern that prompted our review,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.