Williams Case Information
On May 17, 2000, civil rights organizations filed the Williams Case, a class action, on behalf of public school students in San Francisco County Superior Court. The lawsuit claimed that the State of California, the California Department of Education (CDE), and local educational agencies (LEAs) failed to provide equal access to instructional materials, qualified teachers, and safe school facilities. A settlement agreement was announced on August 13, 2004, and went into effect during the 2007-2008 school year.
The Williams Settlement affects all California public schools because the requirements and accountability measures apply to all school districts. County Superintendents conduct yearly site visits to decile 1-3 schools based on CDE’s 2012 Academic Performance Index (API). Because no new legislation has been passed to replace the API, the 2012 cohort of schools continues to be visited annually.
School site visits must be completed within the first 20 days of a new school year, and twenty-five percent of the holidays must be unannounced. Validation teams review Instructional Materials and Textbooks, School Facilities, Teacher Assignments, School Accountability Report Cards (SARC), and Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP). An annual report is then submitted to the School Board of each school district visited, the County Board of Education, and the County Board of Supervisors describing the state of the decile 1-3 schools in the county.
Every county office of education, school district, and charter school governing board is required to have established local complaint policies that describe the procedures that must be followed to resolve a complaint. A Williams Complaint regards instructional materials, facilities conditions, and teacher assignments and may be filed anonymously. These complaints are delivered to a principal, or their designee, of the school in which the complaint arises. Schools have complaint forms available for these UCP complaints but will not reject a complaint if the form is not used as long as the complaint is submitted in writing.
Requirements for all Districts
- Hold a public hearing on Instructional Materials
- Ensure that all teachers are appropriately credentialed
- Establish a facilities inspection system using the FIT
- Update and publicize SARCs annually by February 1st
- Post classroom notices
- In a second/third language when appropriate – EC 48985
- Update policies for Uniform Complaint Procedures