Assembly Speaker Kills ‘Science of Reading’ Bill

A bill that would have required California public schools to implement research-based reading instruction methods is dead on arrival. Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas has announced that Assembly Bill 2222 (Rubio), which would have required California teachers to use the “science of reading,” will not move forward this year.

Rivas said he wants the Legislature to study the issue more thoroughly before implementing an overhaul. The Legislature was under pressure from the California Teachers Association and English-learner advocates who oppose the science of reading despite the solid evidence behind it. 

The CTA sent a strong letter to Assembly Education Committee Chairman Al Muratsuchi voicing its opposition to AB 2222 last week. The letter said the bill would undermine current efforts to improve literacy rates, especially among English-learners. 

While CaLeg dithers, the state’s student literacy numbers remain among the worst in the nation. Only 43% of California third-graders were reading at grade level last year. Among Black students, the rate was 27.2% — and 32% among Latinos. 

Kareem Weaver, a member of the Oakland NAACP Education Committee, called it a “civil rights issue.”

“…You don’t play politics with civil rights. The misinformation and ideological posturing on AB 2222 effectively leveraged the politics of fear. We have to do better, for kids’ sake, and can’t give up.”