SPI will ensure that CA students read by third year

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California Department of Education
Press release

California Department of Education
Press release

Exit: # 21-67
September 21, 2021

SACRAMENTO – State Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond announced a bold vision to ensure every California student learns to read in third grade by 2026 at a virtual press conference on Tuesday. The effort will also include a bi-literacy milestone for bilingual learners.

In order to advance this goal, Superintendent Thurmond said a task force will be created to bring together practitioners, advocates, researchers, foundation partners, thought leaders, students, parents and other experts to identify key strategies to advance this goal. Efforts are underway within the California Department of Education (CDE) to put in place a structure and membership for the working group, as well as establishing when the working group will meet and details of the types of issues they are facing. will face. In addition to announcing the formation of the task force, Superintendent Thurmond said Assembly Member Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) has agreed to sponsor legislation to help advance this goal.

“We already know that when students learn to read, they can read to learn anything, and that it is a bridging skill that can take them at any point in their life, from their career and their journey, ”said Thurmond. “We also know that when students don’t learn to read in grade three, they are at greater risk of dropping out of school and they are at greater risk of ending up in the criminal justice system. From my perspective, this is a strategy that is about a lot of things: helping kids learn to read, but also setting them on a path that can create success for them. Our students can learn and overcome obstacles, but we must give them the resources to do so, and now is the time to move forward. “

The legislation, which will be formally introduced in 2022, will be informed by recommendations emanating from the working group and could include the provision of resources to advance literacy and bi-literacy goals through professional learning to teach reading. , family engagement strategies and methods of obtaining books. the hands of students and their families, to name a few. Superintendent Thurmond anticipates that the law will set out a multi-faceted strategy that takes into account issues of preparation, chronic absenteeism, the needs of students with disabilities and multilingual learners, early education and socio-economic factors that have a bearing on them. affect a student’s ability to learn to read.

“I look forward to working closely with all of you over the coming weeks and months to improve children’s literacy and bi-literacy,” Assembly member Bonta said at the press conference. “Literacy for every child in California has been a passion for me throughout my life and quite frankly is what I believe to be the surest path to justice and true democracy in our state and in this country. I congratulate Superintendent Thurmond on this targeted campaign. It is a bold and aggressive program. I agree and want to make sure that we have the capacity to deliver legislation that is going to be meaningful and focus on implementation and making it a reality for every child in this state. Literacy is the key to equity; it forms the foundation of our educational capacity and achievements, and we will fight together for literacy, equity and justice in the future.

Several other press conference attendees shared their personal stories and encouraged statewide support for literacy and bi-literacy for all students, regardless of their social and economic background.

Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of First 5 California, highlighted the program’s “Speak, Read, Sing” campaign which emphasizes early brain development. According to Wong, a baby’s brain is hardwired to learn at birth, and the facts are staggering: 700 new neural connections form every second, and billions of neurons connect in the first 100 days of life. These are connections that build the architecture of the brain and the foundation for learning and behavior.

“California needs to work together to prioritize early learning in child care for its youngest children,” Wong said. “We believe that targeted early literacy interventions can improve outcomes for an entire generation of California children, and we are very grateful and look forward to working with Superintendent Thurmond and the team to make literacy a reality. for all California kids. “

Assembly member Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield), liaison with the State Advisory Commission on Special Education, shared a heartfelt and personal story of his own childhood battle to overcome dyslexia. “It was embarrassing, humiliating, and I was always called stupid or lazy,” he said. “I hope we can take on this role and task force in the future to make so many differences in people’s lives – not only societal changes and benefits, but also the economic prosperity of people’s education. is the path to success, and I can’t wait to be a part of it and create new paths.

“It has been an incredibly difficult year for our students, educators and their families,” said E. Toby Boyd, president of the California Teachers Association. “The pandemic has brought to light the challenges our schools and communities face in serving the six million students in our system. I, along with my 310,000 educators, are ready to work with Superintendent Thurmond, Assembly members Bonta and Frazier, and task force members to develop thoughtful strategies and policies for our youngest learners and also for the future of California public education.

Before concluding the press conference, Superintendent Thurmond encouraged those interested in participating in this new literacy effort or interested in learning more to email [email protected] Thurmond also called for efforts to get the books into the hands of as many students and families as possible.

An archived broadcast of the full press conference with the American Sign Language Interpretation service can be viewed on the CDE’s Facebook page.
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Tony Thurmond – State Superintendent of Public Education
Communications Division, Suite 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last revised: Tuesday, September 21, 2021


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