“When it comes to literacy and the delivery of basic education, California is dragging down the nation.” One school had only four percent of its students who could handle basic reading, writing, and arithmetic. Liberal California is being sued by former and current students, teachers, and advocacy groups for failing to provide even a basic education.
The state prides itself on it’s “sanctuary” policy of welcoming illegal immigrants with open arms yet they can’t manage to balance their budget. As the state continues to attract illegals like moths, the latest budget figures show “services which go to California’s illegal population add between $4 billion and $6 billion in state spending.” Most of that money “goes to provide public education to children who are here illegally.”
All DOE spokesperson Bill Ainsworth could come up with when asked for comment is “California has one of the most ambitious programs in the nation to serve low-income students.” He also bragged about the $10 Billion per year the state spends on “English language learners, foster children, and students from low-income families.” With all of that cash flying around, one would expect California kids would be getting a good education. Wrong.
Officials refuse to close the gate, then insist it is the Supreme Court forcing them to spend all that money. “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that states must provide public school education to all children, regardless of citizenship, and the state has no option but to abide by that decision.” The only problem is that despite all the money, California simply isn’t providing an “education.”
Advocacy firm Public Counsel teamed up with a legal group that represents teachers and students, Morrison & Foster, to file suit on Tuesday. They demand that educators do something about the “literacy crisis” gripping the state. The Department of Education hasn’t even “followed suggestions from its own report on the problem five years ago,” the complaint states. Maybe because they can’t read it.
Statistics show not even half of California students in third through fifth grade come anywhere close to meeting California’s own standards of literacy, imposed in 2015. It isn’t just the public schools at fault either, according to one of the attorneys, Mark Rosenbaum, “both traditional and charter schools are failing.”
Compared to the rest of the nation, California has 11 of the 26 lowest ranked districts across the entire country.
One of the students listed as a Plaintiff in the action is 11-year-old Katie T. By the time she reached fifth grade at La Salle Avenue Elementary School, she was barely reading at a third-grade level. The lawsuit says she “was given no meaningful help.” She was not alone. At the same school, “96 percent of students were not proficient in English or math. Only eight of the school’s 179 students were found to be proficient when tested last year.”
By fifth grade, students should be able to “introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.” 5th graders are also expected to “provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.” They should be able to “link opinion and reasons using words, phrases and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically), form and use the perfect (e.g., I had walked), and use punctuation to separate items in a list.”
One representative fifth grader at Children of Promise, Kendall Q., “does not form complete sentences with the correct use of verb tense or punctuation. She struggles with subject-verb agreement and basic word order. Her writing does not demonstrate clear reasoning or a coherent organizational structure.”
Russell W. used Cat in the Hat, a kindergarten level book, for his report in fifth grade. “Even though he also scored in the lowest achievement level (‘standard not met’) on the CAASPP in third, fourth, and fifth grades, he received no meaningful interventions during those years. Russell W. dreaded taking the ELA CAASPP test because it requires reading passages that are longer than he normally has to read.”
One of the teachers represented in the suit is David Moch. He taught at La Salle for about 18 years. He describes what it is like to have fifth-grade students sitting in on his kindergarten class for remedial learning. “I chose to teach at La Salle because I wanted to help. Every day I was there, I witnessed students’ lack of access to literacy.”
He didn’t get much help either. “Teachers were not given training or help to deal with the situation and programs that did seem to make a dent were discontinued.” Instead, the fifth graders wrote kindergarten level reports on kindergarten level books.
Plaintiffs aren’t looking to burden the state by asking for a money settlement beyond costs and fees associated with bringing the suit. They are asking for a public acknowledgment that the Plaintiffs “rights were violated.” The biggest “relief” that Plaintiffs are asking for, is what as known as “injunctive relief,” requiring the state to “ensure that Plaintiffs have the opportunity to attain literacy.” They want to make sure that age-appropriate goals are met all the way from kindergarten to graduation.
As part of that request, they ask for the court to order screenings twice a year at the start of each school semester for elementary students to help get them diverted into appropriate support programs.