CTA President E. Toby Boyd joined Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Assemblymember Mia Bonta and state education leaders today to announce a bold vision for ensuring that every California student will learn to read by third grade by the year 2026. The effort also includes a biliteracy milestone for dual language learners.
Thurmond will convene a task force in the coming weeks that brings together educators, students, families, advocates, researchers and other experts to identify key strategies for focusing on literacy. He will also sponsor legislation in the coming year to be authored by Bonta (D-Alameda) to help advance the goal. This bill will be informed by recommendations that come from the task force, and will likely include a variety of resources to advance literacy and biliteracy goals, family engagement approaches and other reading strategies.
Thurmond anticipates the legislation will lay out a multifaceted strategy that considers issues of readiness, chronic absenteeism, needs of students with disabilities and multilingual learners, early education, and socio-economic factors that impact a student’s ability to learn to read.
“Now is the time. We have all the resources to do this, and we will bring forward legislation to support our students,” says Thurmond. “When students learn to read, they can read to learn anything.”
Boyd says that after decades of disinvestment in public schools, this year’s education budget reflects our shared values and priorities.
“Expanding transitional kindergarten, increasing community schools, and additional resources for social and emotional supports for students are all significant investments that will help support our neediest schools – and they are key programs that we need to combat illiteracy,” he says. “Equally important will be addressing the needs of our dual-language learners and assuring that they have resources and supports needed to succeed. Biliteracy is a strength of our global economy.”
Bonta is excited about the bold, aggressive agenda to ensure all kids can read.
“Literacy is the key to equity,” she says. “We are going to fight together for literacy, equity and justice.”