Federal officials to investigate LAUSD English learner services

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The Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Education is reportedly investigating the delivery of English learner services at the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Last year, one in three L.A. Unified students received help with their English proficiency. Most of those students are Spanish speakers.

The district employed 24,000 teachers to concentrate on English learners. In the last few years the district’s reassigned fewer than one-fifth of these students into regular classes.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the federal education department is investigating how the school district identifies English learners and designates them English proficient - and whether their teachers are properly trained and qualified.

Very few English learners achieve proficiency in math and English classes.

L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines told the newspaper that the federal probe could shed light on the district’s efforts to improve services for English learners.

Cortines also said he’d target wrongdoing, if the investigation finds it.

News of the probe surfaced a day after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said educational inequality is most likely to affect black and Latino students throughout the country.