California Black Media Staff | Contributor
The State of California settled a two year-long lawsuit for failing to improve literacy rates among elementary school children.
Last Thursday, the state signed a $50 million agreement geared toward low-income schools to allow equal access to comprehensive literacy programs.
The money from the settlement will go to 75 elementary schools in California that were chosen based on those schools’ overall performances on standardized reading exams.
The settlement also requires the state to propose legislation to improve literacy instruction going forward.
Governor Gavin Newsom will reportedly use $600 million of 2020-21 budget for grants to help underprivileged children, according to Cal Matters.
According to the initial lawsuit, Ella T. v. State of California, students of color in low-income schools did not receive the “intensive support” needed to maintain individual literacy standards.
In order to combat this the agreement requires the state to advise schools on understanding the challenges students of color face in the classroom.
The lawsuit was filed by the pro-bono law firm Public Counsel and Morrison & Foerster LLP.
“Ella T. v. State of California is a landmark education case brought under the California Constitution that seeks to vindicate the right of all students to access literacy, no matter their zip code,” it states on the Morrison & Foerster website.
Morrison & Foerster also state that they got involved with this lawsuit, “on behalf of California students who have been deprived of access to literacy and received schooling that is unequal to the schooling provided to other students in the State of California.”
According to their website, the lawsuit required that California provides students with, “evidence-based literacy instruction at the elementary and secondary level, a stable, supported, and appropriately trained teaching staff, opportunities for their parents and families to engage in students’ literacy education and school conditions that promote readiness for learning.”
Gov. Newsom’s press secretary Vicky Waters said in a statement, “California is committed to closing opportunity gaps by directing extra support and resources to school districts and schools that serve students who need extra help.”