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Three Schools File a Lawsuit Against the State of California

The lawsuit claims that California has failed to provide students their right to literacy.

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Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed against the State of California, the State Board of Education, the State Department of Education, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson in the Los Angeles County Super Court for collectively failing to provide every California student “access to literacy”, which is a requirement in the California Constitution. The suit was filed on behalf of parents, teachers, and students from three California schools: La Salle Avenue Elementary School in LA, Van Buren Elementary School in Stockton, and Children of Promise Preparatory Academy, a charter school located in Inglewood.

The lawsuit states that the state of California has failed to properly educate students, especially those who are learning English, have disabilities, are impoverished, or are Hispanic or African American. In a previous state literacy report, experts admitted there was a “critical need” the address the insufficient educational provisions offered to students

“It has been five years since the state identified urgent literacy issues and their remedies, but it is yet to implement a plan to address these issues,” said Michael Jacobs, a partner at Morrison & Foerster, one of the law firms which filed the suit.

Students from La Salle Elementary, Van Buren Elementary, and Children of Promise Preparatory Academy have all felt the effects of the low quality of education, as Children of Promise is the only one of the schools that had a proficiency rate in reading above 10 percent. The lawsuit, which is the first in the United States to pursue the Constitutional right to literary, claims that the state has declined to get involved even as students continued to struggle, causing the three schools to become among the lowest-performing in both California and the United States. Along with low literacy rates, the lawsuit also points to “crowded classrooms, high teacher turnover, and a lack of guidance and assignments in classes” as indicators of the state’s poor approach to education.

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