Information about Cruz et al. v. State of California et al.
Case No. RG 14727139
Superior Court for the State of California, County of Alameda
Information About the Lawsuit
Cruz v. State of California is a class action lawsuit about “meaningful learning time.” The student Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit because they believe that students attending certain schools in California were receiving less “meaningful learning time” than students in most other California schools. By “meaningful learning time,” Plaintiffs are referring to time when students are in class with a qualified teacher who is teaching them content that will give them knowledge, skills, and the ability to succeed in school.
Plaintiffs argued that students were losing meaningful learning time in certain schools in the following ways:
  • Students were being sent home for certain periods instead of being in class with a teacher.
  • Students were being assigned to “service” courses, “teacher aide” courses, or “IWE” courses but were not being taught anything during those periods.
  • Students were assigned to those kinds of periods even if they still needed courses to graduate or to get into college.
  • Students were being put into classes that they had already taken and passed because there were not enough other course options for them.
  • For the first few weeks or even months of the school year, students’ schedules were changed and they would end up missing out on hours or days of class.
  • Plaintiffs also argued that students in these schools were losing meaningful learning time because of teacher turnover, teacher and student absences and tardiness, and a lack of counseling and other support services.
Plaintiffs argued that all of this lost learning time violates the constitutional rights of students in those schools to an education. The defendants disagree with plaintiffs’ claims, and the court has not yet ruled on these issues. After nearly two years of litigation, the parties in the case have reached a Settlement Agreement.
Information About the Settlement
The Settlement Agreement affects students who have attended, currently attend, and will attend school at Castlemont High School and Fremont High School in Oakland Unified School District, John C. Fremont High School, Susan Miller Dorsey High School, and Thomas B. Jefferson High School in Los Angeles Unified School District, and Compton High School in Compton Unified School District between May 29, 2014, and June 30, 2020.
The terms of the Settlement are partly based on a new law called AB 1012, which was passed by the Legislature and Governor on October 9, 2015. AB 1012 addresses the assignment of students to courses without educational content. The terms of AB 1012 are summarized below.
The State Education Defendants have also agreed to help the Los Angeles, Oakland, and Compton school districts to make sure they can follow the new law and make sure the schools in those districts do not have serious problems with student schedules. If the Court approves the settlement, some lawsuits brought against the State or State Education Defendants over the next four years by students, parents, and teachers may be prohibited.
California Superior Court Judge George Hernandez will decide whether to approve the settlement at a hearing in Oakland on April 26, 2016 at 2:30pm at the California Superior Court, County of Alameda, 1221 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94612, in Department 17. You may submit written comments to the Court regarding this settlement and you can ask the Court for permission to voice your views at the hearing. You can find out more information about this class action and the April 26 court hearing by clicking on the link below to the Settlement Notice, or by calling the ACLU of Southern California at 213.977.5276.
Information About AB 1012
AB 1012 applies to all public school students in California in grades 9 through 12 starting in the fall of 2016.
Under the new law, a student can be assigned to a course period without educational content only if a school official decides the student will benefit from that course and the student’s parent or guardian consents. The new law also prohibits schools from placing students in a class like math that the student has already passed, unless the student and their parent or guardian consent. Finally, the new law creates a way for students, parents, and teachers to file a formal complaint if a school is violating this law.
Relevant Documents  
How Do I Get More Information?
By Phone Call the ACLU of Southern California at 213-977-5276
Para español llame al 213-385-2977 ext. 316.
By Mail or E-mail Write to Victor Leung, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, 1313 West Eighth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017 or
Settlement Notice Please refer to the Class Action Notice of Settlement for a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
At the Court For a small fee, all of the pleadings and other records in this litigation, including the Settlement Agreement, may be examined online on the Alameda County Superior Court’s website, known as 'DomainWeb,' at  After arriving at the website, click the 'Search By Case Number ' link, then enter RG14727139 as the case number and click 'SEARCH.' Images of every document filed in the case may be viewed (for a charge) through the 'Register of Actions.'
You may also view images of every document filed in the case free of charge by using one of the computer terminal kiosks available at each court location that has a facility for civil filings.