Central Valley School District Reaches Settlement, Agrees to Ensure Equal Opportunity for English Learners

On August 16, 2012, major civil rights organizations announced they had reached a settlement agreement with the Dinuba Unified School District, located in California's Central Valley, to ensure that young English learners have an equal chance to succeed. The agreement results from a lawsuit filed in May by a group of Dinuba parents and teachers. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati provided pro bono representation to the plaintiffs in the matter, along with the ACLU of Southern California, the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, California Rural Legal Assistance, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

The lawsuit asked the school district to cease its use of a program called Second Language Acquisition Development Instruction (SLADI) to teach reading to first- and second-grade English learners, alleging that SLADI was a fundamentally flawed and unproven method of teaching English.

Under the settlement agreement, the district will stop using SLADI and implement a new program for young English learners that will take effect this school year. It also will create two programs to remedy the past year's deficiencies—an after-school program and an additional summer school program, both of which will be available at no cost to the families of the students who were denied reading instruction under SLADI.

The Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati pro bono team that represented the plaintiffs in the matter included Steven Guggenheim, Claire Davis, Jeanna Steele, Rianna Pfefferkorn, Charlene Koski, John Roberts, Fred Saulo, Moira Rueda, Jenny Lo, and Alex Castellanos.

For more information, please see the press release issued by the civil rights organizations on the settlement.