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California Sued for Poor Literacy in Schools

Dylan, 14, didn't plan to become the poster child for a lousy educational system.

An eighth-grader in Central California, Dylan reads at an early second-grade level. He tested in the bottom one percent of students his age.

That is now public knowledge, thanks to a lawsuit filed by his parents and others who complain the state has failed its students. For Dylan, it may be worse now if he reads the newspaper.

Third Worst?

The plaintiffs allege that California has not done enough to improve literacy education for their children. They say Stockton Unified School District, where Dylan attends, is the third-lowest performing school district in the nation.

"Defendants have denied Dylan O. access to literacy, meaning they have denied Dylan O. his fundamental right to an education as provided for in the California Constitution," their lawsuit says.

Other children named in the case attend La Salle Avenue Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District and Inglewood Unified's charter Children of Promise Preparatory Academy. All of the students -- ages 6 to 14 --minorities.

The defendants include the state Board of Education, the state Department of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Not So Bad

U.S. News & World Reports ranks the Stockton Unified School District higher than the parents. The top schools in the district graduate more than 98 percent of their students, and two schools were among the best in the state last year.

Meanwhile, Newsweek ranked Gretchen Whitney High School in the Los Angeles area the sixth best in the nation.

Thank goodness, Dylan didn't go to a public school in Nevada. It ranked worst in the country.

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