California distance learning lawsuit begins hearings on Friday

Courtesy Los Angeles Unified School District

Felix Quiñónez, an elementary school P.E. teacher in Los Angeles Unified, leads his students in physical exercises online.

A lawsuit alleging that California failed to provide equal learning opportunities to low-income students and Black and Latino students during the pandemic will begin hearings at the Superior Court on Friday.

Earlier this year, a group of families and advocacy groups sued California, charging that students still lacked the necessary technology to access online courses as well as emotional support during the global pandemic. Fifteen students are listed as plaintiffs ranging from a kindergartner to a high school senior. The State of California, the State Board of Education, the Department of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

“For students without homes, school is now wherever they can find an internet connection. The change in the delivery of education left many already-underserved students functionally unable to attend school,” the lawsuit reads. “Due to the State’s insufficient attention to the actual circumstances of remote learning, Black and Latinx students from low-income families are being deprived of their fundamental right to a free and equal education guaranteed by the California Constitution.”

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