Temecula Valley Unified School District is resolving English language instruction civil rights complaint

An alleged civil rights complaint filed against Temecula Valley Unified School District’s English Learner programs in its middle schools is being resolved through an agreement with the Office of Civil Rights signed by TVUSD Superintendent Tim Ritter April 7.

The OCR Resolution Agreement will reinstate designated English Learner instruction in the district’s middle schools that were eliminated in 2014 in favor of “Common Core Discovery Replacement” classes. It will also insure better teacher and district communication with the English as a second language students and their non-English speaking parents and will permit EL special education students to participate in the classes.

The complaint, filed April 10, 2014, by the parent of an English language learner at Bella Vista Middle School through Asian-American Advancing Justice in Los Angeles, alleged the middle school had eliminated all English language services during the spring semester. As a result, the complaint alleged, the EL students were not receiving equal access to the educational program in that school required by the California public education law.

It was noted that Bella Vista, rather than working in the its EL students with the “Common Core Discovery Replacement” program, allegedly had eliminated all its EL programs when there still were a number of EL students enrolled at the school. The other middle schools in the district continued to conduct some EL classes under the new program, but had cut back the instruction offerings and not retained some of its more experienced EL teachers for the new program.

With that the OCR, which is an office of the U.S. Department of Education, launched an investigation into the complaint. Before the completion of the investigation and before a “compliance determination” was reached, TVUSD expressed an interest in resolving the complaint. The district submitted the OCR Resolution Agreement April 7 that when implemented is intended to resolve the issues of non-compliance and other concerns, according to the California Department of Education.

The agreement will require the district to create an EL Coordinating Committee made up of an EL expert knowledgeable in the development and implementation of effective ESL programs, a district administrator with EL education experience, two or more certificated teachers with English language development experience, two or more parents of EL students and at least one member of the district English Learner Advisory Committee. The names of those on the committee must be announced by June 30.

The district will continue to revise its master plan to describe a comprehensive program of English language services and instruction that meets Title VI standards. Title VI states that no person in the U.S. shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied of the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. It will assure that all schools in the district will be in compliance with the master plan and that input on the plan comes from members of the EL Coordinating Committee. The plan needs to be in place within 30 days after the beginning of school year 2018-2019.

The master plan must insure that all English language learners in the district from the elementary to the high school level be identified and assessed to determine the extent of their needs including those with disabilities. The students with disabilities will receive instruction with non-disabled student to the maximum extent possible with their disability.

The OCR Resolution also requires the district to hire teachers with specialized training and experience in EL education to accommodate the needs of the EL assessed students in the district.

It will also require the district to provide an extensive report on its progress in implementing the resolution. This requirement will involve the district providing a list of all EL students in each of the middle schools with the students name and ID number, home language, most recent California English Language Development Test Score, entry date, name of teacher responsible for providing ELD instruction, class schedule, name of class and their special education status by Sept. 30.

Also, the report will include the English language arts specialists’ job description, a current master schedule for the middle schools, a course outline for the “Discovery Class” at each middle school and a complete description of the EL services provided.

During the school year when the complaint was filed, TVUSD enrolled approximately 30,000 students, of whom 2.745 were English learner students. About 70 percent of the EL students spoke Spanish; the remainder spoke a variety of languages including Filipino, Vietnamese and Arabic. The total district population and the overall proportion of EL students had not changed significantly since that time according to the district and Department of Education reports. In 2013-2014, the district enrolled 6,445 students in its six middle schools of whom 270 students, or 4.2 percent, were EL learners. By 2015-2016, the middle school enrollment had increased to 6,551, and EL enrollment increased to 369 students, or 5.6 percent.

For further reference to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, see OCR Case No. 09-14-1287.

6 Responses to "Temecula Valley Unified School District is resolving English language instruction civil rights complaint"

  1. Robert   May 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    That’s funny, TVUSD just received some Ribbons at some schools and you would think that those would be for districts and schools who did not have Civil Rights investigations going on but I guess that is not the case. Seems like this has a been a problem for years and yet the school board is completely ok with it. As a matter of fact, they must not have any problem with these issues because they just extended Ritter’s contract.

    I thought they were supposed to look out for ALL TVUSD students? What a shame.

  2. Anonymous   May 18, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    What is really interesting is that TVUSD applied for gold and green ribbons even though they were ineligible to do so.
    It is deeple concerning that the CDE made a decision to awards 7 schools in the Temecula Valley Unified School District with the Gold and Green Ribbon. I was under the impression that schools/ districts that had current/ ongoing investigations by the office of civil rights and current violations of students civil liberties were ineligible to apply for the Golden Ribbon. Yet, Temecula Unfied applied and was awarded the Gold Ribbon while under investigation by the office of civil rights. Furthermore, the superintendent (Timothy Ritter) of TVUSD committed 7 counts of perjury when he signed the 7 applications stating that “the Office of Civil Rights does not have any outstanding findings of civil rights office violations…” against TVUSD. This is completely unacceptable. TVUSD has made a mockery of the office of civil rights and of the students they have discriminated against.

    I expect this situation to be rectified immediately and the superintendent to be held responsible for such a gross negligence of information. Sandy Hinkson, as board president, Please take actions and let us citizens know how this situation will be resolved.

  3. KeepYourEyeOnTVUSD   May 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    This is not a “alledged” complaint. It is an actual complaint with a case number and a resolution agreement that was signed by Timothy Ritter, TVUSD Superintendent on April 7, 2017. Case number is 09-12-1287. TVUSD should post this on their website for the sake of “transparency.” Community members deserve to know what is happening at their children’s schools.

    TVUSD violated educational codes and law by denying English Learners services they are entitled to receive. This was an ongoing investigation by the Office of Civil Rights for three years. Not only has TVUSD have OCR investigating them, ACLU and Riverside Office of Education (RCOE) have conducted investigations.

    TVUSD is the most corrupt district around.

  4. RayJay   May 20, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    It looks like we have struck a cord with some of these citizens. I am not so sure why they are so concerned with such a small minority of TVUSD’s population. As long as Great Oak, and all of its feeder schools, always get everything they need that is all that matters.

    We all know that the children of the majority of the the District Office Administrators and a Board member attend these schools. That is why they take the funds away from those who need them most and funnel them to the sites where their children attend. They have figured out the politics. In politics, the rich always get richer which is why they get into to politics. TVUSD is not an institution for ALL students, it is a political business that is run and controlled by the few in power to benefit their children…and I am not talking about the nepotism that exists in their hiring practices.

    I am pretty sure none of their students are English Learners or in Special Education. If they were, I can guarantee that those programs would have never been underfunded or completely neglected. I do believe that TVUSD, according to LCAP Data, is struggling with their English Learner population in Language Arts and Math and yet the LCAP does not reflect that in its Actions and Services for 2017-2018.


    There are also a few minority groups who are struggling in Math according to the data. Last I checked, there are very few minorities in Administration and on the Board so they will probably not be addressed in the LCAP.

    For those of you who think that TVUSD will do the right thing for ALL students, don’t hold your breath for action to be taken unless these problems exist in the South Region.

    If you want change…get involved, hold these people accountable, and get elected to the Board.

  5. Nuff Said   May 24, 2017 at 11:03 am

    How hard is it for TVUSD to just do the right thing? Do the administrators, Superintendent Ritter, and the school Board have no morals?

    TVUSD always likes to compare themselves to surrounding districts. They do it when in contract negotiations and last year when the Board voted 5-0 to increase the top earners (Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents) salaries, yet again widening the wage gap between administrators and teachers and classified members. Yet, in comparison to other surrounding districts, TVUSD is constantly in the news for shady dealings. One never hears of MVUSD in the papers for scandals and wrong-doings. Why is that?

    Shame on you TVUSD! School Board members, shame on all five of you also! You are elected officials who are suppose to ensure these type of things do not happen to our students! Instead of turning a blind eye or lying in bed with the District, do the right thing! Is it really that difficult? Student first? I think not in TVUSD. Well, then again…some students first…but not ALL!

  6. TruthTeller   May 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    If people (including the board) would simply peel back a layer or two of this onion, they would see that this is not a well-run school district. There are tremendous professionals at the school sites and a wonderfully supportive community, but when looking at district-level decisions that require discretion, problem after problem exists. It’s no wonder district administration felt the need to hire a public relations person at a salary of more than $100,000 per year. It takes great skill to put lipstick on this pig.
    If the board ever realizes that fact checking is an essential part of effective oversight, things will change tremendously. Fact checking is not blind reliance upon the things told to them by “experts.”


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