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Teach Plus California issues statement on the passage of Senate Bill 488

September 15, 2021

Sacramento, CA―Teach Plus California today issued the following statement on the passage of Senate Bill 488 carried by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park).

“Teach Plus and Teach Plus teacher leaders are thrilled that the California Legislature passed SB 488, which will maintain a focus on the preparedness of our teachers to teach every student how to read. We believe that ensuring that all teachers can effectively teach reading and develop literacy is fundamental to educational equity and student success and urge Governor Newsom to sign SB 488.”

Nationally and in California, we have seen more and more students are falling significantly behind in reading. As Teach Plus California Policy Fellow and Los Angeles Unified teacher Nikysha Gilliam stated, “We have witnessed the result of poor reading instruction and the detrimental effect it has on the achievement of our students. We have also seen colleagues who enter the classroom struggling to teach foundational reading skills to their students. That is not fair to the teacher or the students. SB 488 is an important step in addressing these gaps in our schools.”

After several years of negotiations, under the leadership of Senator Susan Rubio, a public school teacher for 17 years, California has found a way to update its assessments of teaching reading and literacy within teacher preparation programs maintaining California’s high standards and rooted in the science of foundational reading skills. At the same time, SB 488 provides an approach that Teach Plus hopes will help remove barriers to entry to the profession for a more diverse, qualified, and well-prepared teaching workforce.

Teach Plus is pleased that SB 488 takes an approach aligned with the recommendations in its report, Preparing All Educators to Teach Every Student to Read: Recommendations from Teach Plus California Policy Fellows. The bill updates the assessment for the teacher candidates, an important benchmark. The bill also aims to hold preparation programs accountable by requiring the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to ensure that its standards of program quality and effectiveness for the preparation of candidates include and specify all of the relevant requirements for literacy instruction. 

Sarah Lillis, Teach Plus California Executive Director, stated: “Teach Plus celebrates SB 488, the legislation that addresses the shortcomings of the existing reading instruction assessment in ensuring a well-prepared and diverse teaching force and reinforces the importance of high standards for literacy instruction as fundamental to student success. SB 488 recognizes that those high standards must be met not only by our educators but by the institutions that prepare them.”

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning, to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students. teachplus.org