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Minority Students' Literacy Lawsuit Moves Forward in California

A Los Angeles judge cleared the way for a lawsuit against California for failing to improve literacy in poor public schools.

Parents of students from Los Angeles, Inglewood and Stockton areas say their schools have some of the worst test scores in the country. They allege the state has not given them the same opportunities as students from other schools.

In Ella T. and Katie T. v State of California, a judge said the plaintiffs alleged sufficiently that the education system treats them differently because of their race and low-income status. By the time it's over, however, some kids may well have dropped out.

Three Schools

The students come from La Salle Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, Van Buren Elementary School in Stockton, and in Children of Promise Preparatory Academy in Inglewood. The children, ages 6 to 14, are black or Latino.

California asked Judge Yvette Palazuelos to dismiss their case, but she said there was enough to proceed on their claims that the state illegally spends taxpayer money on a public education system that discriminates against them.

"Plaintiffs' allegation that this action is brought on behalf of former and current California students at plaintiffs' schools is sufficient to demonstrate that the class is limited to minorities at the three schools," Palazeulos wrote.

It is far from over, but it's a new start for kids like Dylan O. He was an eighth grader last year at Van Buren Elementary in the Stockton Unified School District.

One Student

He didn't plan on becoming a poster child for a poor educational system when the lawsuit was filed.

But the year before, he read at an early second-grade level. He tested in the bottom one percent of students his age.

Next year, if he makes it, he should be out of middle school. It could be a win-win because Stockton Unified has two other schools that rank among the best in the state.

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