Literacy Lawsuit against the State of California

Decoding Dyslexia CA feels it is important to keep its members updated on trending issues regarding literacy in California. We also closely follow litigation as it relates to students with dyslexia. DDCA shared the news articles that came out in December 2017 regarding the Ella T. v. State of California lawsuit which named California Department of Education, State Board of Education and Tom Torlakson, as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that California has failed to follow up on its own report by state literacy experts that found there was a “critical need” to address the skills and development of students, particularly those who are learning English, have disabilities, are economically disadvantaged, or are African-American or Hispanic. For your further review, we are attaching the link to a New York Times article on this matter, a link to the 2012 Literacy Report referenced in the article, and the copy of the actual complaint that was filed in the CA Superior Court in Los Angeles. We will continue to monitor and update you as we learn more.

New York Times Article:

2012 Literacy Report referenced in article (click on CA):

Copy of the Complaint filed:

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.