Williams v. State of California was a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the State of California because of the terrible conditions in many of its public schools. Parents, students, and teachers argued that the State failed to provide thousands of public school students, particularly those in low-income communities and communities of color, with the basic necessities required for an education.

They argued that the State's failure to provide these bare minimum necessities to all public school students in California violated the state constitution, as well as state and federal requirements that all students be given equal access to public education without regard to race, color, or national origin.

If you believe your public school in California is not providing adequate conditions for learning, find out more about filing a Williams complaint.

Case Developments

August 13, 2004
Settlement announced. The settlement requires that all students have books and that their schools be clean and safe. It takes steps to make sure that students have qualified teachers and that schools deliver these important resources to students. The settlement provides nearly $1 billion to accomplish these goals.

May 17, 2000
Williams v. State of California filed.


Williams Complaint Process

The legislation implementing the Williamssettlement requires that every school district provide a uniform complaint process for complaints regarding insufficient instructional materials, unsafe or unhealthy facility conditions and teacher vacancies and misassignments.

Procedimiento para Hacer Quejas de Williams

La legislación que pondrá en practica el acuerdo de Williams requiere que cada escuela en el distrito proporcione un proceso para hacer quejas para quejas respecto a insuficientes materiales instructivos, instalaciones en condiciones peligrosas o insaludables, y malasignaciones y puestos vacantes de maestros.

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

MALDEF; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Public Advocates

Date filed

May 16, 2000


Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco


Hon. Peter J. Busch

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