U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's first stop after reaching an agreement to address civil rights violations was the Los Angeles Unified School District Board.
The federal government was threatening to take the district to court for civil rights violations. It's because so many English learners in the district didn't do well in school.
Twenty-nine percent of the district's 600,000 students are English learners, many of them Hispanic. Not only are they having trouble in LAUSD schools, the Department of Education feels there are also problems with the academic English proficiency of African-American students.
"Though we still have a long way to go before we see that English language learners and African-American students are consistently getting what they need to perform up to their fullest academic and social potential, I'm confident today's agreement will help address the causes of concern that prompted our review," said Duncan.
It is a lengthy agreement between the Department of Education and LAUSD.
It is intended to be implemented by September 2012. It requires a master plan for all English learners that includes a list of goals and accountability. Those goals include college and career readiness for all students, and academic language proficiency for African-American students.
No dollar figure was attached but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says it will cost a lot of money, though he says money is not the issue.
"We spent no time deciding who was to blame and we spent little time deciding if we had issues. Time was spent almost entirely on how to best use the resources that we have, limited though they are, in California," said Deasy.
The agreement ends any threat of a civil rights court action. If the participants are correct it will eventually mean significant changes for all the parents and students in the district.