Ten school districts in California have sued the state because it doesn’t test English-language learners in their native languages or provide such students with any testing accommodations as part of meeting the accountability requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
The law permits English-language learners to take state tests in their native languages for the first three years they attend U.S. schools. On a case-by-case basis, schools can let such students continue taking tests in their native languages for an additional two years. But like a majority of the states, California doesn’t have such tests.
The lawsuit, filed June 1 in superior court in San Francisco, charges that the state is not meeting the federal law’s requirements to assess English-language learners in a “valid and reliable manner.”
Hilary McLean, a spokeswoman for Jack O’Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction, responded to the lawsuit by saying: “Students who come to our schools are native speakers of more than 100 languages. To design tests for all the languages would be complex and costly.”