The Williams Settlement Legislation stems from a class-action lawsuit filed in 2000 alleging that the state failed to provide poor and underprivileged public school students with equal access to instructional materials, safe and decent facilities, and qualified teachers. The case was settled in 2004.
California legislators passed five pieces of legislation to implement the terms of the settlement known as the "Williams Settlement Legislation" to ensure that all students have access to textbooks and instructional materials, facilities are safe and in good repair, and teachers who are appropriately certificated and assigned.
All California schools are impacted by the result of the Williams Lawsuit Settlement. ACOE’s Williams Task Force monitors the lowest-performing schools in Alameda County to ensure that quality standards are implemented.
ACOE Williams Task Force
The Williams Task Force helps to prepare and guide districts in Williams compliance in training district and school site administrators in preparation for annual Williams "validation visits" in September.
We also work closely with county offices around the state to prepare training materials, standardize forms, and implement processes at the district and county levels.
Williams Task Force Responsibilities
- Conducts annual visits to schools during the first four weeks of class
- Determines whether all students have sufficient access to instructional materials in all core subject areas
- Monitors whether teachers have the appropriate certifications and classroom assignments
- Reviews that school facilities are maintained in “good repair” and that buildings and grounds are safe, clean, and functional
- Verifies the accuracy of School Accountability Report Cards relevant to instructional materials, facilities, and teacher credentialing
- Ensures the school has posted the district’s Uniform Complaint Procedures and that district quarterly reports are submitted
Framing Williams Legislation: An Opportunity
The Williams Task Force works collaboratively with the lowest-performing schools and their districts to identify and address deficiencies in textbooks, facilities, and teacher assignments that may impede learning.
The laws align with current goals of equity of educational opportunity and closing the achievement gap in California. They are intended to ensure that all students have access to textbooks and instructional materials, facilities that are safe and in good repair, and appropriately certificated and assigned teachers (i.e., every school in the state is impacted by Williams Legislation).
Williams Legislation places an emphasis on the lowest-performing schools in the state (i.e., those in deciles 1-3) by advancing a process with checks and balances that result in the timely, systematic identification and resolution of deficiencies. In addition, funds are provided to address deficiencies in instructional materials and facilities.
How the Williams Legislation Affects Schools
The Williams Legislation affects all schools in California. The laws create mechanisms for identifying and correcting deficiencies in instructional materials, facilities, and teacher assignments. All schools must:
- Hold an annual public hearing to determine if each student has sufficient textbooks and instructional materials
- Post notices in each classroom informing parents and guardians about how to file complaints about conditions of facilities, and textbook availability
- Adopt a policy for a modified Uniform Complaint Procedures to identify and resolve issues related to instructional materials, facilities, and teacher vacancies and misassignments
- Include in the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) information about facilities maintenance, availability of instructional materials, and teacher misassignments and vacancies
Role of the County Superintendent
On behalf of the County Superintendent of Schools. ACOE staff conducts annual "validation" visits to determine whether all students at the school have access to required textbooks and instructional materials and that the buildings are safe and functional. ACOE works to minimize disruptions to student learning and makes significant efforts to work with districts to assist them in meeting the requirements of the Williams Legislation.
The County Superintendent reports on whether teachers at the site have the required credentials and whether they are assigned to the appropriate classroom based on their certification.
The County Superintendent also reviews each site's Student Accountability Report Card (SARC) for compliance with state requirements.