Teacher prep programs will face greater transparency and accountability for covering the science of reading and dyslexia in their coursework.

Governor Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 488 (Rubio, D-Baldwin Park) which will require the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to revise and strengthen teaching standards for licensure for new teachers that incorporate both the science of reading and the California Dyslexia Guidelines. Decoding Dyslexia CA worked together with Senator Susan Rubio’s staff in drafting this legislation. The new law will require that accredited teacher preparation programs meet higher standards with respect to preparing teachers in evidence-based reading instruction, particularly foundational reading skills. The CTC will also be required to certify that existing accredited teacher preparation programs are aligned with the new teaching standards.

The new law will sunset the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (or “RICA) and it will be replaced with a new Literacy Teaching Performance Assessment that will include assessing instruction on foundational reading skills.

According to the most recent Nation’s Report Card from 2019, California ranks low in the nation with 67% of fourth grade students not reading at grade level and these poor reading rates are even more dismal for students of color where 82% of Black fourth grade students and 78% Hispanic fourth grade students do not read at grade level, respectively.

The CTC has eliminated many of its teaching standards with respect to reading instruction over the past two decades. This new law will require CTC to not only strengthen its standards but to do so with increased transparency and accountability including engaging stakeholders and reporting back to the state legislature on its progress.

“Decoding Dyslexia CA (DDCA) would like to thank Senator Susan Rubio and Governor Newsom for recognizing that the science of reading needs to be taught in our teacher preparation programs. We must shift away from instructional approaches that are not backed by science and have proven to be harmful to struggling readers. By incorporating the California Dyslexia Guidelines into coursework for aspiring teachers, teachers will be trained in structured literacy approaches that research has shown benefits all students” states Lori DePole, Co-State Director of DDCA. “We need to remain vigilant in assuring that this new law translates into better preparation for our new teachers.”

“As a twenty-year veteran educator, I wish I would have learned about effective reading instruction and dyslexia in my teacher preparation program” states Megan Potente, Co-State Director of DDCA. “Instead, I personally paid for additional coursework to learn about the evidence-based reading instruction proven to be the most effective for the most number of students. Equity in education depends on access to teachers with the knowledge and skills to teach all children how to read.”

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