May 11, 2008
At Las Palmitas Elementary School, nestled between rundown homes and fields of grapes, peppers and dates in Southern California, 99 percent of students live in poverty and fewer than 20 percent speak English fluently.
Las Palmitas and other schools in the Coachella Valley Unified School District are just the type policy makers had in mind when Congress passed the federal No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 to shed light on the disparities facing poor and minority children.
Nineteen of the district’s 21 schools — including Las Palmitas — have not met the federal law’s performance benchmarks for four years. Now the entire district faces sanctions for the first time.
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