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English instruction lags, ACLU says

LOS ANGELES — Thousands of students in California who need to learn English aren’t getting adequate language instruction, according to a lawsuit against the state and education workers filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Under state and federal law, schools are required to teach non-English speakers the language, but by its own records, the state isn’t offering English instruction to nearly 20,000 students, more than 1 percent of the total.

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The suit alleges that lack of instruction has meant some children had to be held back a grade or live with low proficiency scores because of a language barrier.

The ACLU brought the issue to the attention of the state with a letter in January, and officials say they’re working to ensure compliance at the local level.

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