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Deal struck in California to benefit English learners nationwide

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 17 — A settlement reached Thursday between California's Central Valley School District and civil rights groups will likely benefit about 1.5 million school children from immigrant families whose native language is not English.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the American Civil Liberties Union announced here that major civil rights organizations have struck a deal with the Dinuba Unified School District in California.

The deal is intended to ensure that young English learners from immigrant families have an equal chance to succeed.

Under the agreement, the district will stop using the Second Language Acquisition Development Instruction, a program implemented in 2009, and will implement a new program for young English learners beginning in the current school year.

"More than 150,000 Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students in California are classified as English learners," said APALC Supervising Attorney Justin Ma.

"We hope this settlement encourages all school districts to provide sound instructional programs to English learners," said Ma.

The United States has over 1.5 million students who have been enrolled as English learners, and about one-third of them are in California's public schools.

The district will also create two programs to remedy the past year's deficiencies: an after-school program for the young students who were denied reading instruction under SLADI, to help them catch up with their peers and an additional summer school program, both at no cost to families of these students.

As part of the settlement, the district will work with mutually agreed-upon education experts to determine and implement an English learner program that meets the needs of students and complies with state law. (PNA/Xinhua)

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