Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School Dist. No. 3., No. 76-2029

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore CHOY and SNEED; SNEED
Citation587 F.2d 1022
Decision Date18 December 1978
Docket NumberNo. 76-2029
PartiesGUADALUPE ORGANIZATION, INCORPORATED, a Non-Profit Arizona Corporation, on behalf of its members and the Community of Guadalupe, et al., Plaintiffs- Appellants, v. TEMPE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Page 1022

587 F.2d 1022
GUADALUPE ORGANIZATION, INCORPORATED, a Non-Profit Arizona
Corporation, on behalf of its members and the
Community of Guadalupe, et al.,
Plaintiffs- Appellants,
v.
TEMPE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 et al., Defendants-Appellees.
No. 76-2029.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Dec. 18, 1978.

Page 1023

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of arizona.

Before CHOY and SNEED, Circuit Judges, and SPENCER WILLIAMS, * District Judge.

Page 1024

SNEED, Circuit Judge:

This appeal is from the district court's adverse determination of a civil rights class action filed by plaintiff-appellants to compel the Tempe Elementary School District No. 3 to provide all non-English-speaking Mexican-American or Yaqui Indian students attending district schools with bilingual-bicultural education. Appellants assert that their rights to equal educational opportunity have been disregarded in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and that the school district's failure to provide bilingual-bicultural education also violates rights granted by Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Education Opportunity Act of 1974 and Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court granted appellees' motion for summary judgment. Jurisdiction is conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We affirm.

I.

FACTS.

Appellants are elementary school children of Mexican-American and Yaqui Indian origin or their representatives of the community of Guadalupe, Arizona, a semi-rural community of approximately 5,000 people, most of whom are Mexican-American or Indian. Plaintiffs allege that of the approximately 12,280 students in the Tempe Elementary School District No. 3, approximately 18% Are Mexican-American or Yaqui Indian, and that in the elementary school in Guadalupe, approximately 554 of 605 students are Mexican-American or Yaqui Indian. Appellants allege four discriminatory acts constituting the violation of their rights:

(1) Failure to provide bilingual instruction which takes into account the special educational needs of Mexican-American and Yaqui Indian students;

(2) Failure to hire enough teachers of Mexican-American or Yaqui Indian descent who can adequately teach bilingual courses and effectively relate to the educational and cultural needs of the appellants;

(3) Failure to structure a curriculum that even minimally takes into account appellants' particular educational needs;

(4) Failure to structure a curriculum that even minimally reflects the historical contributions of people of appellants' descent to the State of Arizona and the United States.

The district court initially dismissed appellants' complaint on May 21, 1973 on the basis of this court's holding in Lau v. Nichols, 483 F.2d 791 (9th Cir. 1973), Rev'd, 414 U.S. 563, 94 S.Ct. 786, 39 L.Ed.2d 1 (1974). This court, by an order dated April 5, 1975, remanded this action "for further consideration in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court" in its Lau v. Nichols, 414 U.S. 563, 94 S.Ct. 786, 39 L.Ed.2d 1 (1974). This court had held when Lau v. Nichols was before us that the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause did not require the San Francisco Unified School District to provide compensatory English language instruction to students who spoke only Chinese. The Supreme Court, without reaching the constitutional question, held that 42 U.S.C. § 2000d and underlying HEW regulations require school districts to "take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficienc(ies)" of non-English-speaking students, and that the San Francisco Unified School District had not met this standard. 414 U.S. at 568, 94 S.Ct. at 789.

Upon remand, defendant-appellees made a motion for a more definite statement to clarify the distinction between the relief sought in this case and that ordered by the Supreme Court in Lau v. Nichols. In answer to interrogatories of the appellees and in argument before the district court appellants admitted that they did not complain of the school district's efforts to cure existing language deficiencies of non-English-speaking students. Instead, they contended below as well as here that the appellees have failed to provide them with a program of instruction that "has as its goal having a child graduate at each grade level from

Page 1025

kindergarten to fourth year in high school competent and functional in reading, writing, and comprehension both in the child's own language, Spanish, and the language of the majority culture, English." The appellees allegedly also have failed to provide an educational program in which "all courses of instruction, testing procedures, instructional materials (are) bilingual and bicultural." Finally, appellants contend that the school district failed to reflect in its program of instruction the particular language, particular customs and particular history of the parents of each child attending the school. 1

Although we have found no other case in which bilingual-bicultural education issues have been disposed of by summary judgment, we hold that in this case such disposition is proper. No material factual issue exists that requires resolution by trial. United States v. Allen, 578 F.2d 236 (9th Cir. 1978). Conclusory statements in pleadings do not constitute evidence of a dispute as to a material fact. Id.

Appellants argue that the duties they seek to impose upon the appellees are required by the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Education Opportunity Act of 1974. We shall consider separately each of these sources of the duties appellants seek to impose upon appellees. In doing this our effort joins a growing number of cases in which the federal courts have been called upon to trace the bounds of "equal educational opportunity" as required by the Constitution or statute. Decisions flowing from such an undertaking involve, Inter alia, The question of "the proper role of the federal judiciary in overseeing the decisions of local administrative bodies in the field of public education." De La Cruz v. Tormey, 582 F.2d 45, 47 (9th Cir. 1978). Responding to this question also involves considering the interests of the children being educated, their parents, and the local school authorities, the respective roles of the state and federal governments, the competency of the federal courts to undertake the requested education oversight, and, at least in this case, the nature of the social compact that binds this Nation together.

We now turn to those sources from which the appellants assert flow the duties they insist the appellees must discharge.

Page 1026

II.

FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT. 2

A. State Action.

Before applying equal protection analysis under the Fourteenth Amendment we must decide whether sufficient "state action" is present. The appellees argue that their failure to institute a bilingual-bicultural educational program constitutes inaction which cannot be "state action." Appellees' argument fails. In our Lau v. Nichols, supra, we did not hold that no "state action" existed, rather we held that the "action" taken by the San Francisco school district did not violate the students' constitutional rights. In this case, the school district has chosen affirmatively to provide a course of education other than bilingual and bicultural as defined by the appellants. By this exclusion it has chosen not to provide that which the appellants seek. This is "state action" sufficient to merit review by a federal court to determine whether it contravenes the Fourteenth Amendment. See Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools, 351 F.Supp. 1279, 1283 (D.N.M.1972), Aff'd on other grounds, 499 F.2d 1147 (10th Cir. 1974).

B. Standard of Review.

The Supreme Court in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 35, 93 S.Ct. 1278, 36 L.Ed.2d 16 (1973) taught us that education, although an important interest, is not guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, it is not a fundamental right. Differences in treatment of students in the educational process, which in themselves do not violate specific constitutional guarantees, do not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause if such differences are rationally related to legitimate state interests. 3 This was the approach we adopted in our Lau v. Nichols; The Supreme Court did not reject the approach in its reversal of that case. Rodriguez suggests that a rational relationship to legitimate state interests is absent when the educational "system fails to provide each child with an opportunity to acquire the basic minimal skills necessary for the enjoyment of the rights of speech and of full participation in the political process." 411 U.S. at 37, 93 S.Ct. at 1299.

C. The Review.

We hold that the appellees fulfilled their equal protection duty to children of Mexican-American and Yaqui Indian origin when they adopted measures, to which the appellants do not object, to cure existing

Page 1027

language deficiencies of non-English-speaking students. There exists no constitutional duty imposed by the Equal Protection Clause to provide bilingual-bicultural education such as the appellants request. The decision of the appellees to offer the educational program attacked by appellants bears a rational relationship to legitimate state interests. Nor, so far as this record reveals, does the appellees' program fail "to provide each child with an opportunity to acquire the basic minimal skills necessary for the enjoyment of the rights of speech and of full participation in the political process."

We reach this conclusion fully aware of the serious nature of the appellants' contentions. Our analysis returns us to the foundations of organized society as manifested by the nation-state. We commence by recognizing that the existence of the nation-state rests ultimately on the consent of its people. The scope of this fundamental compact may be...

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32 practice notes
  • Castaneda v. Pickard, No. 79-2253
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • June 23, 1981
    ...history of this statute is very sparse, indeed almost non-existent. Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School Dist. No. 3, 587 F.2d 1022 (9th Cir. 1978). The EEOA was a floor amendment to the 1974 legislation amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 88 Stat......
  • Larry P. v. Riles, No. C-71-2270 RFP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • October 16, 1979
    ...v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265, 353, 98 S.Ct. 2733, 2780, 57 L.Ed.2d 750, 810 (1978); see Guadalupe Organization v. Tempe Elementary School, 587 F.2d 1022, 1026 n. 2 (9th Cir. 1978). Cf. Board of Education v. Califano, 584 F.2d 576, 588 nn. 38-39 (2d Cir. 1978), cert. granted, 440 U.S. 905, 99 S.Ct......
  • Larry P. By Lucille P. v. Riles, No. 80-4027
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • June 25, 1986
    ...568, 94 S.Ct. 786, 789, 39 L.Ed.2d 1 (1974). This circuit has expressly followed Lau. Guadalupe Organization v. Tempe Elementary School, 587 F.2d 1022, 1029 (9th Cir.1978); De La Cruz v. Tormey, 582 F.2d 45, 61, n. 16 (9th Cir.1978), cert. denied, 441 U.S. 965, 99 S.Ct. 2416, 60 L.Ed.2d 107......
  • National Ass'n for Advancement of Colored People v. Medical Center, Inc., No. 80-1893
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • July 20, 1981
    ...other grounds, 444 U.S. 130, 100 S.Ct. 363, 62 L.Ed.2d 275 (1979); Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School Dist. No. 3, 587 F.2d 1022, 1029 n.6 (9th Cir. 1978) (impact is proper standard for Title 1 Placement of inpatient services under Plan Omega would be as follows: Depart......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • Compassion in Dying v. State of Wash., No. 94-35534
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • May 28, 1996
    ...Like so many other issues, it is one "for the people to decide." Guadalupe Org., Inc. v. Tempe Elementary Sch. Dist. No. 3, 587 F.2d 1022, 1027 (9th Cir.1978). Our Constitution leaves it to them; it is they and their representatives who must grapple with the riddle and solve KLEIN......
  • Clients' Council v. Pierce, No. 82-1383
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • September 15, 1983
    ...Center, Inc., 657 F.2d 1322, 1329-1331 (3d Cir.1981) (en banc); Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School District No. 3, 587 F.2d 1022, 1029 n. 6 (3d In this case, we have already held that HUD's actions were motivated--at least in part--by a discriminatory purpose. In additi......
  • National Ass'n for Advancement of Colored People v. Medical Center, Inc., No. 80-1893
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • July 20, 1981
    ...other grounds, 444 U.S. 130, 100 S.Ct. 363, 62 L.Ed.2d 275 (1979); Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School Dist. No. 3, 587 F.2d 1022, 1029 n.6 (9th Cir. 1978) (impact is proper standard for Title 1 Placement of inpatient services under Plan Omega would be as follows: Depart......
  • Castaneda v. Pickard, No. 79-2253
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • June 23, 1981
    ...history of this statute is very sparse, indeed almost non-existent. Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School Dist. No. 3, 587 F.2d 1022 (9th Cir. 1978). The EEOA was a floor amendment to the 1974 legislation amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 88 Stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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