News Briefs | FYI
October 18, 2021
Newsom signs bill to improve reading instruction
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed Senate Bill 488, which ensures teacher candidates are qualified and prepared to teach reading based on best practices.
The bill by Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, will require the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to revise their preparation program standards and Teaching Performance Expectations to ensure teacher candidates are qualified and prepared to teach students how to read using the most current best practices. The bill will also require the commission to ensure an approved Teaching Performance Assessment assesses all candidates for competence in instruction in literacy.
“As a public school teacher for 17 years, I know how hard teachers work to ensure their students succeed, and I’m grateful that I can advocate for them,” Sen. Rubio said, in a news release. “That’s why I’ve been fighting to update our reading standards in schools. I thank Governor Newsom for signing this bipartisan bill that will help schools, teachers and most importantly, our children, so they receive the reading instruction they need to be successful.”
“SB 488 is the result of many years of negotiations regarding the best ways to assess teaching reading and literacy within teacher preparation programs,” said ACSA Executive Director Wes Smith. “This update will maintain California’s high standards for teacher preparation while helping address the state’s teacher shortage, increase teacher diversity, and prepare all educators to teach reading.”
New statewide effort launched to increase literacy
Early in October, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a statewide effort to secure donations with the goal of providing one million books for students and their families. This book drive happens in conjunction with a statewide literacy campaign launched that includes a task force working toward the goal of helping all California students reach literacy by third grade, by the year 2026. Thurmond and the California Department of Education are working closely with First 5 California and are seeking further partnerships to reach the goal of providing one million books to students and families.
“Our literacy effort is multifaceted, with legislation that will be introduced in 2022 for providing resources and advancing literacy and biliteracy goals through professional learning and family engagement — as well as this effort of to get a million books into the hands of California students and their families,” Thurmond said, in a news release.

“Students who can’t read by the third grade are at greater risk to drop out and end up in the criminal justice system, so this effort is more than just reaching a literacy milestone — it’s also about equity, justice, and putting students on a path that can create a lifetime of success.”
Thurmond also announced co-chairs for the new statewide literacy task force, which includes experts and community partners who will design a strategy for reaching this goal, including making recommendations that will be introduced in the 2022 Legislative Session to expand resources for improving reading proficiency of California students. Task force member Assemblymember Mia Bonta, D-Oakland, intends to be the primary author of legislation expected to include a focus on professional development resources for teaching reading.
Task Force Co-Chairs are:
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, California State Board of Education President;
  • Charles E. Ducommun, professor of education emeritus at Stanford University; and founding president of the Learning Policy Institute;
  • Barbara Nemko, superintendent, Napa County Office of Education;
  • E. Toby Boyd, president, California Teachers Association, and kindergarten teacher;
  • Francisco Escobedo, executive director, National Center for Urban School Transformation;
  • Barbara Flores, president, California Association for Bilingual Education;
  • Camille Maben, executive director, First 5 California;
  • Dianna MacDonald, past president, California State PTA.
Cash donations are welcome, and the CDE and First 5 California are seeking partners that can collect and distribute in-kind donations of books. Please send checks to First 5 California, 2389 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 260, Sacramento, CA 95833. Checks can be made out to “California Children and Families Commission” with a memo line that says “books.”
Those interested in participating in the literacy effort should email statewide
Panel explores teaching LGBTQ history
October is LGBTQ History Month and celebrates the accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals and their contributions to society. On Oct. 6, the California Department of Education held a webinar to discuss the importance of teaching LGBTQ history. The FAIR Education Act, passed in 2011, and the History Social Science Framework, approved in 2016, provide guidance to California educators about LGBTQ history topics to teach. The webinar featured a panel of teachers from across California sharing how they incorporate LGBTQ history into their curriculum. View a recording of the webinar on CDE’s Facebook page,
Leadership magazine seeks submissions on social justice
Has your school or district taken steps to advance social justice? Share your work with your colleagues in ACSA’s Leadership magazine. Submit an article to the “Social Justice in Education” issue by Nov. 29. Find submission details at
Nominate science teachers for national award
The National Science Foundation administers the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. For school year 2021–22, the award will honor science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teachers working in grade levels K-6. Nominations close on Jan. 7, 2022. Applications must be completed by Feb. 6, 2022. Nominations and applications can be completed at
Contact Us
© 2021 Association of California School Administrators