The school board, against the advice of the school district's attorney, decided to redraw the boundaries to exclude the rectangle. The change made Adams a majority-white school. Federal law generally prohibits redrawing school boundaries when it would concentrate minority students, so theU.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights in 1996 forced Newport-Mesa Unified to keep the Joann-area students at Adams.
"I went [to Adams]. It broke my heart to leave," McDaniels said. "But when half your class isn't speaking your language, it just slows your kids down … I didn't want my kid to be a guinea pig."
To be sure, teachers and administrators maintain that native English speakers aren't hindered at Adams or at other schools, especially today. Instruction is "differentiated," they say.