Groups to File DOJ Complaint on Failing Language Services in New Orleans Schools

Thursday, Aug 1, 2013

Groups to File DOJ Complaint on Failing Language Services in New Orleans Schools

Press Conference August 2 at 10am

Asian American and Latino families to hold New Orleans school district accountable for ineffective ESL services and language access systems

New Orleans -- The Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) will hold a press conference on Friday, August 2 at 10am to announce their complaint to the Department of Justice on behalf of limited-English proficient students and their parents in New Orleans schools. The complaint alleges that the school district has violated Title VI in failing to meet the language needs of Asian American and Latino limited-English proficient students.  District-wide, these students and their families have been underserved, severely damaging their quality of education and putting them at a huge disadvantage to attaining success in their schools.

Students and parents will speak about how they have been affected by the lack of language access in public schools.

Press Conference Information:

Event: Press Conference to Announce Complaint to DOJ on Failing Language Services in New Orleans Schools

Date: Friday, August 2, 2013 at 10am

Location: VAYLA, 13235 Chef Menteur Hwy, Suite A, New Orleans, LA 70129

Speakers:
Affected students, parents, and community members
Youth Organizing Unity (YOU2)
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA)
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Students, parents, and community members will also be available for interview following the press conference.

VAYLA youth leaders have been investigating educational equity and access issues for limited-English communities through youth participatory action research for over two years. In May 2013, Youth Organizing Unity (YOU2), a program of VAYLA, released a report, ESL: Lost in the System, documenting the rights violations that English Language Learners (ELLs) and their families have endured at schools across New Orleans. Realizing the pervasiveness of these systematic education failures, VAYLA partnered with AALDEF to develop a complaint to the Department of Justice that would hold schools accountable for providing the highest quality of language services to students and language access for parents. We are hopeful that the schools identified in the complaint will begin removing the barriers holding back families from participating in receiving the education that they deserve.   

Contacts:
Cristi Wijngaarde, VAYLA, 504-575-6333, cristi@vayla-no.org
Ujala Sehgal, AALDEF, 212-966-5932 ext.217, usehgal@aaldef.org

YOU2
YOU2 (Youth Organizing Unity), a program of VAYLA, is a Raise Your Hand Campaign youth organizing initiative that has been working to promote ESL rights across New Orleans to support students that need assistance with learning the English language and prevent them from being treated unfairly. YOU2 is devoted to protecting the educational rights of immigrant students and parents by addressing the absence of translation, interpretation, and quality English Language Learner programs at many of the city's public and charter schools.

VAYLA
The Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA) is a youth-led community-based organization that empowers Vietnamese American and underrepresented youth through supportive services and organizing for cultural enrichment and positive social change. Committed to youth development, community empowerment, higher education, and cultural awareness, VAYLA is composed of young leaders, high school and college students that want to engage and empower others educationally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

AALDEF
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans.  By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.