Williams Case COVID-19 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and responses regarding the Williams Case and COVID-19. Read the entire FAQ at the California Department of Education website. Contact the Government Affairs Division at CDE if you have any questions: GAD@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0821

Materials and Curriculum


  • Do school districts need to provide all students with hard copies of adopted texts?
    • Instructional materials should be aligned to the content standards and be consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum framework. Instructional materials, as defined in EC Section 60010(h), may be printed or non-printed, and include textbooks, technology-based materials, other educational materials, and tests.


  • Does hardware need to be provided to every student to remain in compliance? (updated 9/21/20)
    • No, but pursuant to EC 43503(b), during distance learning LEAs are required to confirm or provide “access for all pupils to connectivity and devices adequate to participate in the educational program and complete assigned work”. All students must have access to instructional materials, whether digital or hard copy, in order to remain in compliance. Technology-based materials must also meet the definition of sufficient instructional materials. Please refer to the Instructional Materials FAQs, question 34.


  • Can a school district wait to adopt new curriculum due to budget restrictions?
    • The current textbook adoptions must be aligned to academic content standards and consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum frameworks.

Oversight and Facilities


  • What will site visits look like if schools remain closed? (updated 9/22/20)
    • The County Office of Education (COE) may rely on other information, including school administrator and teacher surveys, in order to obtain information required for the annual report. The annual visit is also waived during the period that in-person instruction is not being offered. Please refer to EC 1241, recently added with the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 820, for more information.
  • Can monitoring occur without site visits? Such as gathering information remotely? (updated 9/22/20)
    • Yes, due to the passage of SB 820 and the added EC Section 1241(b). The provision in EC Section 1240(i)(3)(B), which permits COEs to use written surveys as a means of gathering information to review instructional materials for COEs who monitor 200 or more schools, has been extended to all COEs.
  • What happens if schools reopen? Will COEs need to conduct site visits? (new 9/22/20)
    • Pursuant to EC Section 1241(b)(3), the annual visit is waived only for the time that the school does not provide in-person instruction. The COE shall plan to visit all necessary schools if they reopen. If the COE is unable to visit a school due to insufficient time, the school must be prioritized for a visit during the following school year.
  • Are 25% of the visits still required to be unannounced? (new 9/22/20)
    • No. Pursuant to EC Section 1241(b)(4), this requirement is waived for the 2020–21 school year. However, a COE may still conduct an unannounced visit, as long as it is undertaken in compliance with state and local public health official’s orders or guidance.


  • Can facilities inspections be done by on-site maintenance staff?
    • Inspections must be completed by the COE.
  • What will facilities inspections look like if schools remain closed? (updated 9/22/20)
    • COEs may rely on information from school administrator and teacher surveys for facilities inspections.
  • Should COEs review facilities to comply with COVID-19 requirements, such as disinfecting and social distancing?


On May 17, 2000, a group of civil rights organizations filed the Williams Case, a class action, on behalf of public school students in San Francisco County Superior Court. The lawsuit claimed that the State of California, the California Department of Education (CDE), and local educational agencies (LEAs) failed to provide equal access to instructional materials, qualified teachers, and safe school facilities. A settlement agreement was announced on August 13, 2004 and went into effect during the 2007-2008 school year.

All California public schools are affected by the Williams Settlement because the requirements and accountability measures apply to all school districts. County Superintendents conduct yearly site visits to decile 1-3 schools based on CDE’s 2012 Academic Performance Index (API). Because no new legislation has been passed to replace the API, the 2012 cohort of schools continue to be visited annually.

School site visits must be completed within the first 20 days of a new school year and twenty-five percent of the visits must be unannounced. Validation teams review Instructional Materials and TextbooksSchool FacilitiesTeacher AssignmentsSchool Accountability Report Cards (SARC) and Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP). An annual report is then submitted to the School Board of each school district visited, the County Board of Education, and the County Board of Supervisors describing the state of the decile 1-3 schools in the county.

Williams Complaints

Every county office of education, school district, and charter school governing board is required to have established local complaint policies that describe the procedures that must be followed to resolve a complaint. A Williams Complaint regards instructional materials, facilities conditions, and teacher assignments and may be filed anonymously. These complaints are delivered to a principal, or their designee, of the school in which the complaint arises. Schools have complaint forms available for these UCP complaints but will not reject a complaint if the form is not used as long as the complaint is submitted in writing.

For Districts

Quarterly UCP Report

Please submit Board approved UCP Quarterly reports to cmaponte@smcoe.org.


Dates Covered Month of Board Approval Report due to SMCOE
Q1: 7/1 to 9/30 October October 31
Q2: 10/1 to 12/31 January January 31
Q3: 1/1 to 3/31 April April 30
Q4: 4/1 to 6/30 July July 31

Joy Dardenelle

Executive Director, Systems for District Improvement

Email: jdardenelle@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5315

Carlos Salcido

Coordinator, District Improvement and Support

Email: csalcido@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5354

Christian Morales-Aponte

Administrative Assistant, Bilingual

Email: cmaponte@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5307