Elementary Classroom

In response to the $53 million lawsuit in California regarding reading poor instruction, three literacy professionals analyzed school records to determine how well California schools instructed reading.

In 2020, students and teachers of California won a $53 million settlement after suing the state of California for not providing adequate reading instruction. The settlement provides resources to the state’s lowest-performing schools for proper instruction. The funding will be rewarded over the course of three years to 75 different California public elementary schools with the poorest third-grade reading scores. While the settlement only provides resources to a small fraction of the state’s 6,000 total elementary schools in the state, it was a step in the right direction to making vital changes to allow students the opportunity to be successful in the classroom.

In response to this lawsuit, an analysis was conducted at the University of Michigan by Professor Nell Duke, Lauren Katz, UM alumna and founder of the Literacy, Language and Learning Institute, and alumna Crystal Wise. The analysis provided insight into specific issues including problems with classroom instruction, discipline, and inadequate intervention for students who were struggling. These problems are believed to have contributed to the low literacy rates in California.