The Denver Study

In 1999 I received a phone call from a lawyer in Boston representing the Congress of Hispanic Educators. Years before, this group had sued the Denver Public Schools for segregating minority students. The original desegregation lawsuit involved bussing students, but the case had evolved over time into one about language and culture. The federal court now required the Denver Public Schools to provide native language instruction to students who did not understand English. The U.S. Justice Department joined the suit as coplaintiff. Each group—the school district, the Hispanic educators, and the Justice Department—was represented by lawyers.

The court agreement specified in detail educational services the district should provide, ...

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