MALDEF Continues Battle to Ensure Equitable Education for Students in Illinois

The next phase of trial against school district focuses on quality and availability of critical programs

CHICAGO, IL – MALDEF has joined a pending case against Illinois School District U-46. The federal court case is continuing on to the third phase of trial in Delgado v. Board of Education for Illinois School District U-46. Filed in 2005, this case represents an important fight in MALDEF’s battle to achieve fair and equitable treatment for Latino students in our educational systems.

In joining the plaintiffs' trial team, MALDEF challenges school district policies and practices in the following three areas:

(1) A 2004-2005 student assignment plan that creates a disparate assignment of minority students to overcrowded schools while predominantly white schools remain with thousands of empty seats;

(2) Non-compliance with the Equal Educational Opportunities Act in the District's provision of services to English learners; and

(3) Denial of equal access to minority students to the districts's Gifted and Talented Programs.

Due to the size of the case, the Court has conducted the trial in phases. The first phase took place between late February of 2011 to early March of 2011, and it focused on (1) the student assignment plan that leads to more overcrowded classrooms for Latino, African American, and other language minority students while their peers in predominantly white schools continue to benefit from the advantages of lower student-teacher ratios. The second phase, which MALDEF joined, took place between October 17 through October 20 of 2011, and it saw the beginning of the challenges to the English learner and the Gifted and Talented Programs.

The next phase will permit the plaintiffs to finish presenting their cases in chief for these two claims, and it will allow the Defendant to present its Defense. This third phase is set to take place in March 2012. There will likely be another date set for the Plaintiff's rebuttal case.

MALDEF is a staunch advocate for ensuring that students receive quality English Language Learner programming as required under the law. Further, the availability of opportunities for nurturing bright minority students, as the Gifted and Talented Program does, is also critical to the future success of our community.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund