Civil Rights Group Decries U-46 Class-Size Waiver
Byline: Kerry Lester firstname.lastname@example.org
A leading Mexican-American civil rights group is speaking out against Elgin Area School District U-46's attempt to get an exemption to state law on class-size caps for English language learners.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF, Thursday afternoon submitted a letter to state board of education Superintendent Christopher Koch, urging him to deny the district's request and "vigorously monitor" U-46's bilingual programs.
"If a waiver were granted, what stops other districts feeling the same numbers crunch, money crunch?" MALDEF staff attorney Alejandro Aixala asked. "What kind of precedent does it set?"
The five-year waiver request was one of three approved by the U-46 school board this week. State law caps bilingual classes at 90 percent of a district's average general education student-teacher ratio. If approved, the district intends to increase bilingual education class sizes to that general education ratio.
"The cost of complying with (the state board of education's) rules and regulations for bilingual education has annually exceeded the dollars allocated for bilingual education in School District U-46, and the further reduction in state funding for bilingual education makes it unduly burdensome to require the district to continue to comply with this particular ... regulation," a memo of the modifications written by U-46 attorney Pat Broncato noted. …