Breaking News:  Judge denies Berkeley Unified School District’s motion to dismiss dyslexia case!

Breaking News:  Judge denies Berkeley Unified School District’s motion to dismiss dyslexia case!

October 12, 2017 – BUSD (“Defendants”) had previously filed a motion, in part, to have this federal dyslexia case (Student A, et al v. Berkeley Unified School District – Case No. 17-cv-02510-JST) dismissed arguing that the individual families involved had failed to “exhaust their administrative remedies before bringing suit” (i.e. each individual family going through due process hearings first).  Plaintiffs successfully argued that they should “be excused from exhausting their administrative remedies because it was futile and inadequate to do so”.  Judge ruled, in part, in favor of the Plaintiffs.

Many of you have been closely following the complaint filed in federal court on May 2, 2017 against Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD), the BUSD Superintendent, the BUSD Board of Education, and the Directors of the BUSD Board of Education, for systemically failing to educate students with reading disorders, and students who are suspected to have reading disorders.

It should be noted that complaints regarding the systemic and unlawful practices and policies at BUSD had been previously filed with the CA Department of Education and that BUSD did not sufficiently change its policies in response to these complaints.

Plaintiffs successfully argued that the issue regarding BUSD failing to educate students with dyslexia was a systemic one and not limited to the students involved in this federal lawsuit and that they are seeking relief on behalf of all similarly situated students at BUSD.

The judge did grant the Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss claims against individual BUSD board members. This dismissal has no real impact on the case.

Thanks to all DDCA volunteers who attended the Motion to Dismiss hearing on August 24, 2017!

Click here to read the original complaint filed on May 2, 2017.

Click here to read the May 2, 2017 press release issued by Plaintiff’s co-counsel: Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), Jacobson Education Law, Inc. & Goodwin.

Click here to read the “Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to Dismiss” filed on October 12, 2017.



The Dynamic Duo of LAUSD!

The Dynamic Duo of LAUSD: How two educator/advocate/moms convinced the school board of the largest school district in California to address dyslexia, and what we can learn from their experience.

 By Cheri Rae

Longtime educators and Decoding Dyslexia CA (DDCA) Los Angeles Regional Leaders Sherry Rubacalva and Pam Cohen were determined to improve how Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) deals with dyslexia. Thanks to their efforts, the school board passed not just one, but two dyslexia resolutions in less than a year, offering a great example for other California districts to emulate.

Last fall, as many districts do, LAUSD school board members recognized October as Dyslexia Awareness Month with a ceremonial resolution. But they didn’t just leave it there. In the months that followed, they listened to the follow-up requests of Rubacalva and Cohen and other dyslexia advocates who joined them, and responded by drafting—and passing—a second resolution directing the superintendent to come up with a comprehensive plan to update the district’s dyslexia policies, procedures and practices, including staff development, reading instruction, assessments and, “ensure the provision of free and appropriate public education by providing an evidence-based, multisensory, direct, explicit, structured, and sequential approach to instructing students with dyslexia…,” and to report back “within 90 calendar days.”

That second resolution passed unanimously on June 20, with the news reverberating throughout the state.

As a result of the dyslexia resolution, LAUSD moved quickly into action, with the creation of the district’s Dyslexia Learning Group, comprised of educators, advocates and parents that will help the district develop policies and procedures to address dyslexia. They had their first meeting in July, just a month after the passage of the resolution.

A small number of committed advocates making big change in a short time—and getting positive results: This significant dyslexia action, by the largest school district in the state, serves as a great example for DDCA members to emulate in their own districts, and bring to the attention of their own school board members.

Click HERE for the full story from the author.