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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Kids made honor roll, but aren’t at grade level

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“It’s no use if my kids are on the school’s honor roll if they are not proficient in reading and math,” a mother tells LA School Report’s Esmeralda Fabián Romero.

Lluvia Saenz has three children at Los Angeles Unified’s Huntington Park Elementary. All have been honored for outstanding achievement by their teachers. None are meeting grade-level standards on state tests.

“I feel like the school is taking advantage of me by making me believe my kids are learning, but the state evaluations show otherwise,” Saenz said in Spanish.

Last year’s test results on the state exams that students take in May — known as Smarter Balanced tests or CAASPP — showed that less than half — 40 percent — of LA Unified students met or exceeded standards in English language arts. Only 30 percent did so in math. Huntington Park Elementary’s test scores were even lower, below both LA Unified and state averages. Only 24 percent of the students in the third-, fourth-, and fifth-grades met or exceeded standards in English language arts; 29 percent did in math.

The district needs to invest more in teacher training, Saenz tells Romero.

There is no constitutional “right to literacy,” a federal judge has ruled. Detroit students charged they were denied access to education, reports Alia Wong in The Atlantic.

The lawyers filing the suit—from the pro bono Los Angeles firm Public Counsel—contend that the students (who attend five of Detroit’s lowest-performing schools) are receiving an education so inferior and underfunded that it’s as if they’re not attending school at all. The 100-page-plus complaint alleges that the state of Michigan (which has overseen Detroit’s public schools for nearly two decades) is depriving these children—97 percent of whom are students of color—of their constitutional rights to liberty and nondiscrimination by denying them access to basic literacy.

The judge’s dismissal of the suit has been appealed.

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