Students Sue State Over Lack of AP Courses
LOS ANGELES — Four teenagers sued the state and the Inglewood Unified School District last month, claiming minority students were denied access to college preparatory classes and placed at a disadvantage for the rest of their lives.
Attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of the Inglewood High School students. Inglewood is a predominantly Black and Latino public high school.
The students want a court order directing the state to develop a plan guaranteeing all students equal access to advanced placement courses. They contend access to the courses increases the chances of admission to college because AP classes are given greater weight when grade-point averages are calculated.
ACLU attorney Mark Rosenbaum says AP courses are more abundant at public high schools in the region that serve more affluent, predominantly White and Asian American student populations. At Inglewood High, only three AP classes are offered — U.S. history, government and civics, and English. In contrast, the more privileged Beverly Hills and Arcadia high schools, offer 14 and 18 such courses respectively.
Plaintiffs Rasheda Daniel, Darren Dix Jr., Andre Green, and Jorge Gutierrez are seeking to have their lawsuit certified as a class action to include all current and future public high school students throughout California. Named as defendants were the state Board of Education and state schools Superintendent Delaine Eastin, the Inglewood Unified School District and Superintendent Rhuenepte Montle, and the state of California.
The lawsuit laid some of the blame on the University of California’s admissions policy, which rewards extra grade points for AP and honors courses. Consequently, disproportionate numbers of Blacks and Hispanics are rejected from top universities such as UCLA and Berkeley, the ACLU contends.
Ward Connerly, the U.C. regent who led the campaign to ban affirmative action in admissions and government hiring, applauded the ACLU’s lawsuit, saying he “would almost like to personally join it myself.”
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