Two Hispanic civil rights groups are suing the North East ISD in federal court, claiming that the districts' English as a Second Language programs are 'failing miserably,' and the result is that students who speak mainly Spanish are dropping out at a rate about four times greater than the state average, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The North East lawsuit is one of a series of similar lawsuits filed aganst districts statewide. The Southwest ISD is also named as a defendant.
In the North East case, the lawsuit, filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Multicultural Education, Training, and Advocacy are demanding that the district more effectively monitor the programs for English Language Learners in the district.
"Certification of ESL teachers is insufficient because the certification program does not ensure that the teachers are qualified and well prepared to serve second ELLs,' the lawsuit claims.
"The State's deficient monitoring, which is structured to accomplish the least amount of intervention, continues to mask these failing language programs, leading to ELLs not learning English, performing poorly in the clasroom, and not getting the tools they need to succeed," the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit alleges that NEISD is 'obscuring that failure with clever statistical gimmicks.
The lawsuits also name the Texas Education Agency as a defendant.
"Never have the stakes been so high for so many students," said Roger Rice, the Executive Director of the META.
A similar lawsuit against the state in 2006 resulted in a ruling in favor of MALDEF, but that ruling was overturned by an appeals court, which said the state's monitoring of ESL programs had only been in place for two years. This new lawsuit claims the program how now been in place long enough that better results should be expected.
"This lawsuit should be the wake up call that is needed to spur positive, affirmative action by the school districts in the State of Texas once and for all," said David Hinojosa of MALDEF.