Last I saw 14% of Black OUSD elementary school kids read on grade level and it was 15% in the charters. If students aren’t reading in elementary school it becomes increasingly unlikely they ever will be proficient readers, so the last think we need to do is lower the bar on who can teach reading and the required understanding of reading science. “We must better prepare educators to meet the bar – not eliminate it.” To quote the letter.
When the bar is lowered, we know where those teachers end up. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of false hurdles to get into teaching, that trip up folks who could be great teachers. The science of reading is not one of them.
You NEED to read the whole letter because it is powerful, passionate, and purposeful. And I am copying it below. But here is a teaser
“The NAACP recognizes and appreciates the legislature’s recent Juneteenth declaration, recognizing the end of slavery. Correspondingly, we urge you to reject any measure that undermines access to full and complete literacy because freedom without literacy is like being in a rowboat without paddles. And since 75% of African-American boys in California classrooms do not meet reading standards, we celebrate the right to sit at lunch counters while also realizing that many of our children cannot read the menu.”
So, thank you Oakland NAACP, from myself and everyone else who wasn’t paying close enough attention. This matters for our babies and exactly where we need you.
Please, please, read the letter you won’t be disappointed, and anyone can become a member or donate (nudge nudge).
From the Right to Read Project
July 5, 2019
Dear Chairman O’Donnell and Members of the California Assembly Education Committee:
We write in strong opposition to SB 614 (Rubio) which would repeal explicit language in the Education Code on the foundation skills of research-based reading instruction and also remove the assessment to demonstrate knowledge in this area as part of teacher certification. This bill is unconstitutional, will exacerbate the literacy crisis, and sets the stage for California districts to repeat one of the biggest mistakes of the last 25 years.
The proposed bill is in violation of Article IX, Section 1 of the California Constitution, which states that education is “essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people.” Section 44283 of the Education Code (requiring the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment [RICA]) is part and parcel of the California Constitution’s guarantee of a right to an education, and any attempts to remove it is unconstitutional.
The National Council on Teacher Quality’s 2018 audit of California’s teacher preparation programs showed that only 23% of programs (up from 16%) teach the reading elements identified within our Education code, known as Structured Literacy, that RICA assesses and which 60-65% of students require to learn how to read (see attached chart*); this is a main cause of RICA’s low pass rate. Yet, SB 614 eliminates the safeguard that assesses teachers’ preparation and will only increase the number of unprepared teachers who, overwhelmingly, will serve the most vulnerable student populations. It also removes the legislative mandate and certification requirement being currently used to engage universities and k-12 school systems about their literacy training and practices.
We are concerned that SB 614 reopens the door for repeating mistakes of the early 2000s. To address the teacher shortage, Oakland Unified hired many teachers from out-of-the country. The new teachers, mostly from Spain and the Philippines, struggled with the instructional, cultural, institutional, and financial challenges of this new environment. SB 614 removes the assessment and codified assurance that candidates have basic knowledge of evidence-based reading practices. It lays the groundwork to replicate the previous, failed experiment. It tries to solve the demand for new teachers, 88 percent of which is due to turnover, but ignores that attrition is driven by inadequate preparation.
recognizes and appreciates the legislature’s recent Juneteenth declaration, recognizing the end of slavery. Correspondingly,
we urge you to reject any measure that undermines access to full and complete
literacy because freedom without literacy is like being in a rowboat without
paddles. And since 75% of African-American boys in California classrooms
do not meet reading standards, we celebrate the right to sit at lunch counters
while also realizing that many of our children cannot read the menu.
We must better prepare educators to meet the bar – not eliminate it. Passing SB 614 would disregard the science of reading, data about the causes of teacher turnover, the National Reading Project findings, meta data on learning effect sizes (Hattie 2017), the California Guidelines for Dyslexia, and the California Constitution. We ask you to oppose SB 614.
George Holland, Sr.
President, Oakland Branch, NAACP [email protected] (510) 465 4100
Source: • Reading Ladder* and the Statistical Underpinning.