The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Before the Court is the defendants' motion to dismiss the
complaint of the purported plaintiff class, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), in an equal education opportunity case.
For the reasons stated below, the defendants' motion is granted
and the plaintiffs' complaint is dismissed. The plaintiffs are
directed to file an amended complaint naming the correct parties
This is a class action brought by the named plaintiffs on
behalf of Spanish-speaking children of limited English
proficiency who are enrolled in various local school districts in
Illinois. The named plaintiffs are students enrolled in either
Iroquois West School District # 10 or Peoria School District #
150. Plaintiffs claim that their school districts have not tested
them for English language proficiency nor have they received
bilingual instruction or compensatory instruction. In support of
this claim, plaintiffs assert that the Illinois State Board of
Education and Ted Sanders, the Illinois State Superintendent of
Education, have violated Chapter 122, Section 14C-3 of the
Illinois Revised Statutes by failing to perform their duties
That state statute governs transitional bilingual education in
the Illinois state school system. The statute requires school
districts to identify students of limited English-speaking
ability and classify them according to language, grade, age or
achievement level. Any school district with 20 or more students
of limited English speaking proficiency must establish a
transitional bilingual education program. The Illinois State
Board of Education's responsibility under this statute is to
develop certain regulations which must be adhered to by the
Finally, plaintiffs argue that these alleged violations of
state law constitute violations of their federal rights under the
Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA), 20 U.S.C. § 1703(f),
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d,
and regulations promulgated thereunder, 34 C.F.R. § 100.3
et seq., § 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. Plaintiffs seek a declaratory
judgment that defendants have violated § 1703(f) and seek
injunctive relief to remedy the violation. Specifically, they
seek a mandatory injunction requiring defendants to provide local
school districts with uniform standards for the identification
and instruction of limited English-proficient students. They also
seek programs for limited English-proficient students in school
districts where there are less than 20 such students as well as
a means by which parents may contest placement of students in a
linguistic remedial program.
A. The Eleventh Amendment Defense
In support of their motion to dismiss, the defendants argue
that, at its heart, plaintiffs' complaint alleges violations of
state law in themselves and as violations of federal law.
Further, defendants contend that, since state law violations are
at the core of plaintiffs' action, the relief granted to the
plaintiffs would necessarily involve an order requiring the
defendants to comply with state law. Therefore, defendants
conclude that plaintiffs' case is barred by the Eleventh
Amendment because the relief most likely to be awarded is barred
by Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89,
104 S.Ct. 900, 79 L.Ed.2d 67 (1984).
In Pennhurst, the Supreme Court concluded that ". . . a federal
suit against state officials on the basis of state law
contravenes the Eleventh Amendment when — as here — the relief
sought and ordered has an impact directly on the state itself."
Id. 104 S.Ct. at 917. In its reasoning, the Court found that a
federal court's instructions to state officials on how to conform
their conduct to state law constitute too great an intrusion on
state sovereignty and therefore conflict "directly with the
principles of federalism that underlie the Eleventh Amendment."
Id. at 911. Finally, the Court held that its above holding
applies "as well to state-law claims brought into federal court
under pendent jurisdiction." Id. at 919.
Plaintiffs counter that Pennhurst does not apply because, in
this case, defendants' failure to supervise local districts in
their identification and placement of limited English-proficient
students is itself a violation of federal law. Specifically,
plaintiffs complain that the defendants' failure to make uniform
guidelines for identification of limited English-proficient
students constitutes a "failure by an educational agency to take
appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impede
equal participation by its students in its instructional
programs." 20 U.S.C. § 1703(f). Therefore, since defendants'
alleged failure to write guidelines under state law also violates
federal law, plaintiffs conclude that an order compelling
defendants to comply with state law is really meant to cure their
violation of federal law and therefore Pennhurst should not apply
to bar such relief.
Plaintiffs' attempt to distinguish Pennhurst from this case is
unpersuasive. While it is correct that the Supreme Court in
Pennhurst was not faced with this argument which links a
violation of state law to a violation of federal law, the Court
did expressly consider the effect of the Eleventh Amendment on
the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction over state law claims. Id.
at 917. As noted above, the Court held that the Eleventh
Amendment "principle applies as well to state-law claims brought
into federal court under pendent jurisdiction." Id. at 919. This
holding persuades this Court that the Supreme Court in Pennhurst
meant for state and federal law claims to be dealt with
separately in an Eleventh ...