Early Childhood

NAACP, Children’s Defense Fund and Other State-Wide Advocacy Organizations Join in Support of Assemblywoman Rubio’s AB 2222

Assemblywoman Rubio’s bill calls for an evidence-based approach to teaching children how to read.

Sacramento, CA – The California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP, and Children’s Defense Fund

join 18 other state-wide advocacy organizations and 15 School District Superintendents and School Board Trustees in support of Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio’s new early literacy bill, AB 2222. AB2222 has garnered bipartisan support from 13 co-authors and is sponsored by Decoding Dyslexia CA, EdVoice, and Families In Schools. The bill aims to ensure a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to teaching all California elementary school students how to read and address deep inequities around reading achievement for the state’s most vulnerable students. Details may be found on the campaign website www.californiakidsread.org.

“The NAACP CA/HI’s principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of minority citizens in California and eliminate race prejudice,” said Rick Callender, president of the NAACP CA/HI. “We must prioritize equitable access to opportunity for children by ensuring they can read. This is not just an education issue, it is a social justice issue,” added Callender.

Only 2 in 10 Black third-grade students and 3 in 10 Latino third-grade students from low-income communities are reading on grade level in California. According to the California Early Literacy Coalition’s Policy Brief: California’s Early Literacy Crisis, these numbers have remained mostly flat over the last eight years.

“Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF) is proud to endorse AB 2222 to support evidence-based

literacy instruction and thereby improve literacy rates across our state,” said Director of Education Equity Yasmine-Imani McMorrin. “CDF has a long-standing commitment to ensure underserved youth have access to a quality education and we are looking forward to the positive impacts of this bill.”

Individual grassroots support for AB 2222 is also building momentum. Nearly 1,000 concerned California residents have signed a petition voicing their support for early literacy reform grounded in decades of interdisciplinary research known as the science of reading so that all of California’s children are academically prepared for middle school, high school, and beyond.

“It is amazing to see the support of so many well-respected advocacy organizations and individuals joining in the fight for educational equity in our classrooms,” said California State Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-48). Only four in 10 third-grade students are reading on grade level in California. This is unacceptable given the resources and values we hold as a state. An evidence-based approach to early literacy instruction is critical, otherwise we will continue to see high school graduation rates plummet and adult illiteracy rates increase,” added Rubio.

By third grade, students move from learning to read to reading to learn, and those who are not on

grade level rarely catch up on their academic journey. This is a major contributing factor to the 28% adult illiteracy rate in our state, one of the highest in the nation. Research shows more than 90% of students can learn to read with effective reading instruction grounded in the science of reading, and the approach benefits English learners, too.

AB 2222 heads to the Assembly Education Committee and Assembly Higher Education Committee this spring. Supporters have an opportunity to make their voice heard by signing this petition.