Nearly 75 percent of California fourth graders are reading below their grade level and the achievement gap between low and higher income students is growing.
A new report out from the Annie E. Casey foundation and the advocacy group Children Now finds only three states and the District of Columbia fare worse than California.
Children Now President Ted Lempert attributes California’s poor scores to low levels of per pupil spending. But he said the state’s new school funding plan could help.
“I think the new funding formula that directs money specifically to low income students and English learners will help close that gap," he said. "So it’s definitely a very positive step forward. But clearly more needs to be done.”
The study found 85 percent of low income fourth graders in California are reading below grade level. That’s compared to 54 percent of higher income students.