California sued over poor literacy rates among its students

California was sued earlier this month over poor reading skills among its students, a significant legal step in trying to combat lackluster literacy rates amid a larger conversation about education policy in the Golden State.

The suit was filed by Public Counsel, a pro bono law firm, and Morrison & Foerster, against the State of California, the State Board of Education, the State Department of Education, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson.

“The state has long been aware of the urgency and the depth of the all-too-preventable literacy crisis, and yet it has not implemented a single targeted literacy program to remedy this crisis,” said Mark Rosenbaum, the lead attorney with Public Counsel, according to Education Week.

To support their case, the lawyers reportedly submitted results from a recent Stanford study examining the 26 lowest performing school districts in the U.S. based on literacy and basic education. Eleven of the 26 districts are in California.

Furthermore, data shows that less than 50 percent of students from third grade to fifth grade have met statewide reading standards since 2015. The plaintiffs, which include 10 public school students, want the state to create an accountability system to monitor literacy levels.

“Although denial of literacy is the great American tragedy, California is singlehandedly dragging down the nation despite the hard work and commitment of students, families and teachers,” Rosenbaum added.

Public Counsel has been pro-active in this capacity before as it’s also filed a similar suit against the state of Michigan.

The lawsuit seeks “proven literacy instruction, literacy assessments and interventions, support for teachers, and implementation of practices to promote parent involvement and learning readiness,” according to the press release.

Concerns about a lack of proficiency with basic reading skills has been a persistent concern in California.

For example, just 40 percent of LAUSD students met or exceeded English standards in 2016. That was actually an improvement from 2015 when only 33 percent of students met the benchmarks.

Statewide, around 48 percent of students met English standards on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress during the same year.

Critics of current policy often cite tenure laws as a reason for the lack of improvement, arguing that the inability to fire poor instructors disadvantages poor and minority students.

But in a high-profile lawsuit in 2016 (Vergara v. California), a California appeal court upheld the teacher tenure framework, reversing a lower court ruling, in what was blow to school choice advocates but a win for teachers unions.

However, the newest challenge doesn’t take aim at tenure, but argues for improved teacher training and additional resources.

“We need citizens that can read. We need citizens that can vote,” David Moch, one of the plaintiffs and a retired teacher, reportedly said about the newest challenge. “Once you get behind, if there’s no intervention, there’s no catching up. The level of the work is getting more intense and multiplied at every level.”

24 comments

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  1. Dude
    Dude 11 December, 2017, 13:31

    You can tell that even the author of this story isn’t serious about addressing this issue in California. He didn’t mention the cause. Illegal alien children take up the lion’s share of the seats in our public schools, and they don’t speak English. If you voice that obvious truth you are called a racist, nationalist, etc.

    Reply this comment
    • eck
      eck 13 December, 2017, 18:38

      Bingo!!

      Reply this comment
    • Dr. TT Tedly Steele, DVM
      Dr. TT Tedly Steele, DVM 24 December, 2017, 20:55

      The idea that aliens are taking most of the seats is goofy– I guess it might depend on the area but not where I live

      Reply this comment
    • Ex Democrat
      Ex Democrat 4 February, 2018, 10:35

      First: Hire illegals to increase your profits at work. Second: Hire domestic illegals to lower child rearing and home maintenance costs. Third: Make everyone who cannot afford to own a business or house support these people who do not pay taxes by forcing them to subsidize them through taxation. The best part is that you get to lower middle class workers wages by using illegal labor to leverage them lower. Unfortunately it usually necessitates an income of $200,000 and above to create this scenario for yourself.

      Reply this comment
  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous 11 December, 2017, 21:56

    The illegal children who take up a lot of seats in classes are one part of dragging everything down. Perhaps the biggest part, perhaps not.

    Another big part is parents who do not concern themselves with their childrens school. “They go to school to learn, it is the school who should teach them all that stuff!” Of course, in families where both parents are working all the time, they just may not have time to help the kids with homework.

    Reply this comment
    • Ex Democrat
      Ex Democrat 4 February, 2018, 10:43

      There is no denying that children of illegal immigrants make up the lion’s share of school’s demographics. Here are your options: Move to an expensive unincorporated town that does not allow busing, Pay for your kids to go to an expensive private school, Keep your children where they are and deprive them of a quality education while affording them the opportunity of joining a gang.

      Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 11 December, 2017, 23:06

    Common Core math mystifies parents…..Many parents cannot read themselves……artificially raising wages ala 15 dollar minimum wage indexed to inflation makes crap career service jobs inviting…..urban life stresses self reliance transfer to others for vital goods and services…….believing health care should be paid by others, the responsible tax payers and businesses, has created resentment to high heaven…..why read….it’s depressing.

    Reply this comment
    • Ullr
      Ullr 20 December, 2017, 06:51

      When the current Madison, WI school superintendent assumed her job, she said that although common core would lower test scores, it was worth it because of all the social diversity benefits it brought. Common core is, at least, a leveler. Parents who used to help their children with math are no longer able to do so putting their children in the same boat as children whose parents can’t or won’t help with homework. Common core successfully removes parents as educational allies.

      Reply this comment
      • Jack B
        Jack B 4 February, 2018, 10:54

        I am benefitting from social diversity in San Diego also. Lower wages, lower quality education at all school levels including college. Increased crime. Social services depleted of funds. It keeps getting better and better. It is a shame that I am to old to join a gang this late in life. I so much want to fit in.

        Reply this comment
  4. michael
    michael 12 December, 2017, 08:09

    California democrats desire an illiterate population of voters. This is a feature not a bug.

    Reply this comment
    • Ex Democrat
      Ex Democrat 4 February, 2018, 10:47

      They are succeeding !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have to give them that. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply this comment
  5. Standing Fast
    Standing Fast 12 December, 2017, 13:44

    In every school district throughout California there is a school board whose policies are part of the cause and effect of progressivist education.

    If everyone who is unhappy about the low standard of public education in their community would attend their local school board meetings and speak up, things might improve. I say “might” because there is also the behemoth of the State Department of Education to contend with.

    My advice, unasked-for I know, is for everyone who is unhappy with the public school system to pull their children out of public school and put them into a private or charter school with a classical humanities curriculum. Or, home-school.

    This would probably require a huge change in your priorities. The money you spend on entertainment, luxuries and/or a mortgage/lease of more living-space than you need would probably cover the cost of a private education.

    Happiness does not come from an unfettered pursuit of pleasure, but from fulfilling our duties and obligations to those who depend upon us (spouses, children, parents, pets, and so forth).

    Man is a social animal, we exist in society or we are deprived of the company that makes us whole.

    “Liberty is a power to do as we would be done by,” said John Adams.

    “Duty is ours, results are God’s,” said his son John Quincy.

    This holiday season, buy your children good books to read. Then read to them at least once a week. As they get older you can turn the custom into an opportunity for members of the family to take turns reading aloud to each other.

    Buy books that are beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, beautifully bound. Buy the classics, buy history, buy biography, buy geography, buy natural science, buy books about subjects your child is interested in–especially if it is not a children’s book. That way, they will grow into the book as they get older and it will never be obsolete.

    Instead of Disneyland, sports or rock concerts, take your children to a historical site or national park and buy them a book from the gift shop. The real world is always more interesting than manufactured distractions.

    Give your kids access to the real world by going to real world places, and teach them that books are timeless windows that open their world to other places, other times, and other people. That way, they will have a reason to learn to read, and read well, and write about what they learned. On paper.

    And whether they work as a welder their whole life or become a structural engineer, they will always have a love of learning and appreciate the things that make life worth living.

    Children learn what they live, and live what they learn. I forget who said that. They will learn whatever you teach them, whether you want them to or not.

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 13 December, 2017, 09:57

      Comrades

      The above tome says it all…….In California you need to forget “it takes a village” or ” you didn’t do that yourself” thinking and get your sorry behind out there and earn to private school educate your kids……getting a degree from a Cal State so called university is a joke……guaranteed qualifying for a Ralph’s grocery bagger….

      Community colleges are run down sorry dumps pumping out six year wonders who end up with 40k in student debt and six inches in increased waist lines from eating unhealthy low end cafeteria carbos!!!

      High schools are frightening, drug infested, kids dress like freaks, campus hygiene appalling and a few actually are fit for a quality college admission…..

      Asians are criticized and put down for somehow achieving…….disgusting.

      Queeg works his but off and putting his granddaughters through private school……you heard in the bible there will be a separation of the sheep and the goats for not doing what is evident and correct……..believe …….separation from California public education must be your children’s’ reality and your ultimate responsibility…

      Reply this comment
    • Ted Trump Grabber
      Ted Trump Grabber 24 December, 2017, 21:01

      GOOD POINTS STANDING fast— Ted must note though that school boards are the birth place of GOP pol hack odd balls— well known fact– sad goofy dorks who love to pontificate the the credentialed professional educators— lmao——– what a Country

      Reply this comment
  6. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 14 December, 2017, 13:14

    Time to get the NEA out of the schools end sex education and the Tree hugging bunny hugging wackos as well

    Reply this comment
  7. lb1
    lb1 15 December, 2017, 07:08

    This is the Deliberate dumbing down of America. They don’t want a literate population, they don’t want an informed people, they want servants just as they have now. These so called schools are indoctrination centers, teachers are change agents and they are there to change you child from what you have taught him/her. And now they want your children at age 3 . Get your kids out of these communist camps if you want to save their minds, otherwise there will be NO one to fight these commie thugs.

    Reply this comment
    • Ted The t Ted
      Ted The t Ted 26 December, 2017, 15:25

      lb1 I bet you were a C student at best.

      Reply this comment
      • ulysses uhaul
        ulysses uhaul 26 December, 2017, 17:46

        teddy go lite on the lad……

        we drove out the real players like donkey, poodle, eck….now we are lonely……such a pity..

        Reply this comment
    • Standing Fast
      Standing Fast 31 December, 2017, 16:34

      Well-put.

      Comrades:

      The philosophy behind the dumbing down is Utopian and it is based on a flawed view of the Universe:

      1) Reality is Relative and there is NO such thing as Absolute Truth
      2) The end justifies the means
      3) Government knows best what is good for people
      4) Government exists to serve itself
      5) Citizens exist to serve the state

      It is flawed because its premise makes no logical sense. If there is no such thing as Absolute Truth, then it is impossible to assert a proposition that Reality is Relative. Unless you are a comedian.

      American Tradition, however, comes the Judeo-Christian Natural Tradition which has been developing since the time of the ancient Sumerians.

      It is based on the premise that there is a Power that created the physical and metaphysical Universe, that He is the Author of Life and Liberty, that He governs the Universe by His laws, all men are equally accountable to these laws, Man’s laws must be consistent with Divine and Natural Law to be Just, and no one is above the law.

      Its premise is based on logic and is opposite in every way from the Utopian view. Which means that if you uphold this tradition, you will be in good company:

      1) Reality is not Relative & there is such a thing as Absolute Truth
      2) The means IS the end
      3) God knows best what is good for people
      4) Government’s purpose is to protect the Liberty of the People
      5) The highest duty of a citizen is to protect the Liberty of every other citizen

      If one of these Utopians starts in on you, ask them abruptly if they believe that Reality is Relative. If they actually come to and answer, I’m thinking they will say yes (their leader teaches that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proves this)(no, it doesn’t–because C=Constant). That will give you a chance to wipe up the floor with whatever nonsense they are propagating.

      If Reality is Relative, then what they are telling you cannot be true at all times and in all places everywhere in the Universe.

      See boys and girls how much fun we are having?

      Happy New Year, everybody!

      Reply this comment
  8. T Bone Steele, Certified
    T Bone Steele, Certified 27 December, 2017, 09:33

    Sorry Pack N Ship– good point—– I guess Poodle Eck and Duncey are either in prison or back at the Adelanto 7-11?

    Reply this comment
    • Ulysses Uhaul
      Ulysses Uhaul 31 December, 2017, 14:27

      this new group of posters are C- grade……rarely worth the time rebutting…….

      not tough skinned like the RAGWUS……so sad …

      Reply this comment
  9. Standing Fast
    Standing Fast 27 December, 2017, 13:38

    Did anybody in this conversation buy books for their kids this Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday Season of Your Choice? What did you buy?

    Do you have a sturdy hardwood bookcase? No? Save up to buy a really nice one for your family. Save up to fill it with beautiful books. If your kids’ bedroom(s) are big enough, buy each of them a smaller bookcase for their books, something they can take with them when they leave home. The books you buy them will become a foundation for their personal library.

    When you take your kids out of the public school system, you are not only saving their minds, you are going a long way toward saving their souls. You will be sparing them the foolishness taught in California public schools–disdain for anything from the American tradition, Western Civilization, told to them by YOU. If your older children don’t respect you anymore, it is probably because they were told not to listen to their parents. I kid you not.

    Check out good history museum websites like: http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.org
    http://www.mountvernon.org
    http://www.plimothplantation.org
    http://www.huntingtonlibrary.org
    &c.

    These places have gift shops, and the gift shops have books, DVDs and CDs.

    Take your kids to historical places on your family outings. Good for body, mind & soul.

    California has a lot of neat places to go–here is a tiny drop in the bucket:

    The Maritime Museum in San Diego is wonderful (the 19th-century clipper ship Star of India and a replica of the 18th-century frigate “HMS Surprise” from the movie “Master and Commander”, any of the California Missions, Solvang, Calico Ghost Town, The Old Spanish Trail (Santa Fe, New Mexico to Los Angeles, California by way of the Santa Ana River Watershed), The Leo Carrillo Ranch, Old Town San Diego, Coronado Hotel on Coronado Island, The Annual Tall Ships Festival, etc…..

    Up in the Bay Area there is the Presidio, Sutter’s Fort, the Old State Capitol Building, the Governor’s Mansion, the Railway Museum, and a gazillion other places.

    In between, there are even more places to go, rustic & fascinating. If you’ve never been, now is the time to join the Auto Club, pick up some tour books, and discover what you’ve been missing. They have a website, too.

    Stay away from amusement parks, professional sports, rock concerts, movie theaters, politically correct parades.

    Watch “A Taste of History” hosted by Walter Staib. If you are in Philadelphia visit the City Tavern Restaurant. It is featured in the Colonial Williamsburg movie “Story of a Patriot” starring a young Jack Lord (the movie is a good introduction to life during the American Revolution).

    Go to historical re-enactment events. Go to ethnic festivals–if you are a Heinz-57 American you will never run out of fun stuff to do.

    Don’t waste your opportunity to make a difference in your kids’ lives. Do it NOW!

    I can’t tell you how urgent I think this is. Study the Bible for what it has to teach about wisdom, virtue, and the lessons of history.

    Reply this comment
  10. Jack B
    Jack B 4 February, 2018, 10:21

    The tremendous influx of immigrants is expected to lower educational levels. We do not have sufficient resources to combat this situation. Everywhere in the world that imports less educated people has to endure this problem. Wealthy citizens send their children to private schools to protect them from this dumbing down phenomena.

    Reply this comment

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