Court Restores High School Students' Lost Learning Time
Jefferson High School senior Jason Magaña
Students at Jefferson High School have lost weeks of learning time due to scheduling chaos that has left students assigned to the incorrect classes, faux classes called "Service" periods, "College Class" or "Adult Class" that provide no instruction, or simply been sent home because no classes are available.
Now a state judge has ordered that California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education must step in to stem the loss of learning time at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles.
Jefferson High School is one of nine high-need schools named in Cruz v. California, a class-action lawsuit challenging California's failure to provide meaningful learning time to students. Public Counsel and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California filed the lawsuit in May 2014 with pro bono support from the law firms Carlton Fields Jorden Burt and Arnold & Porter LLP.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge George Hernandez Jr. issued a temporary restraining order today requiring the state to ensure that students are not placed into content-less "service classes" or sent home. The order also requires that the State ensure students are not placed into courses they have already passed, and do not attend overcrowded classes.
"I spent three weeks of school without the class I needed, and it is tough to catch up with the kids who have had the class since the first day," said Jason Magaña, a senior at Jefferson High School and plaintiff in Cruz v. California, who was assigned a graphic design class he had already passed instead of an economics class he needed to complete his graduation requirements. Magaña also has two "home periods" where he is sent home at 11:20 a.m. instead of taking classes he wants. "It is frustrating to me that there are no classes I can take for eighth or ninth periods. If I stay at school, I feel like I have nothing to do. I am just sitting there."