According to 2018–19 data from Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment for Literacy/English Language Arts, 51 percent of California students met or exceeded grade-level standards. When looking at student groups, the percentage dropped to 39 percent for economically disadvantaged students, 41 percent for Latino students, and 33 percent for Black students.
“Once a student learns to read, a student can read to learn anything,” said Thurmond, who added that reaching literacy by third grade has long been a goal of California schools and a key benchmark in measuring and predicting student success. “We must take bold action to help students meet this important milestone and to put them on a path for lifelong learning as opposed to a path that increases the likelihood that they will drop out of school or end up in the criminal justice system.”
Thurmond’s plan for increasing literacy is expected to center on legislation that will fund professional learning for educators, the establishment of a task force to oversee and guide a statewide literacy campaign, and efforts to get more books into the hands of students and their families to help them develop a love for reading.
Besides Superintendent Thurmond, guest speakers include:
- Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Alameda)
- Hedy Chang, Executive Director, Attendance Works
- Jan Gustafson-Corea, Chief Executive Officer, California Association of Bilingual Education (CABE)
- Matt Navo, California State Board of Education Member and Executive Director, California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE)
- Dr. Christopher J. Nellum, Executive Director, The Education Trust—West
- Keith Pace, Executive Director, California School Employees Association
- Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Chief Deputy Director, First 5 California
The State Superintendent will take questions from reporters during media availability immediately following the announcement.
State Superintendent Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and special guests.
Announcement of a new plan to improve literacy rates of California students
Tuesday, September 21, 11:30 a.m. to noon
Where to watch
Register in advance via Zoom:
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s website. You may also follow Superintendent Thurmond on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.