SAN FRANCISCO—Attorneys for seven families with children recently filed a lawsuit against the state of California for its failure to “meet its Constitutional obligation to ensure basic educational equality or…any education at all,” the lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, the state of California placed students from low-income families in a predicament because the only way they can attend school is through the internet.
“There also are serious bars to realistic remote learning despite the best efforts of dedicated teachers, including difficulty getting devices and software to work, absence of academic or mental health supports, English language barriers, and unmet needs for students experiencing homelessness,” the attorneys noted in the suit.
The lawsuit indicated that teachers need the state to assist with solving problems like connectivity issues, inadequate hardware including monitors and cameras, inconsistent internet connections, and a lack of training on operating classroom software.
One of the plaintiffs “Ellori J.” is a seven-year-old girl whose parents “work two part-time jobs and a full-time job to keep the family in their home.” One of the challenges she and her teacher face in remote learning is that her teacher must keep track of 33 students, but can only see 6 students on the screen. If Ellori has any questions, she cannot get the teacher’s attention. The lawsuit contends that the state has “abdicated their responsibility to provide resources” to families.
Parents and grandparents “have had to become tutors, counselors, childminders, and computer technicians, and they have had to find a way to pay for what are now basic school supplies—laptop/tablets, paper, printing, and internet access,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit is asking in part, that the Supreme Court of California channel the taxpayer monies from the school system to the families so they can use that money to purchase the equipment and help they need. Defendants listed in the lawsuit could not be reached for comment.