Introducing the Literacy Pod

"America v. Education Inc." Class Action Lawsuit?

It seems that week-in and week-out a group of people are "Class-action" suing some company, industry or organization over some alleged wrongdoing. People do get hurt by defective products and services. And, there's no argument they should be compensated for the problems that resulted. But how?

The class action premise is set to deal with multiple lawsuits by combining the claims of people who have suffered similar damages by the same defendant, but what happens when the plaintiffs are an entire generation or two?

Between 1988 and 1998, class-action filings increased by 338 percent in Federal courts and more than 1,000 percent in State courts, according to one research group. For millions of plaintiffs in these cases, the payoff is hardly worth the trouble of filling out the claims form - lots of time and only a few dollars. But what if the defendant on top of monetary damages, had to deliver what they promised?

On March 28, 2001, NYCLU filed suit in the Supreme Court, Albany County against the State of New York and various State officials including Governor George Pataki and Richard P. Mills, Commissioner of the State Education Department. The suit rests principally upon a state constitutional provision that has been interpreted as imposing upon state officials the obligation to provide all children within the State with "the opportunity to receive a sound basic education." The suit has been filed as a class action on behalf of approximately 75,000 children attending approximately 150 schools in 9 districts around the State, including Hempstead, Roosevelt, Wyandanch, Westbury, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo. This lawsuit builds on the groundbreaking work done by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

The suit seeks to force the state to remedy shocking disparities between the paltry educational resources provided... THE RESOURCES? WHAT ABOUT RESULTS? The results being those products of a public school education who for generations did not and have not received a "sound basic education"—They can not read or spell!

Ok, the stats/evidence is clear that a sound basic education could have been provided and was not—but who do you sue, who is the defendant? The text book manufacturer? That teachers college? Or do you get personal and go for that crook who first changed a workable system for his own reasons? What do you ask for? It's going to come out of our pockets anyway.

The answer is deliver what was promised and paid for. You make available to all who want it the sound tools for basic education (not that stuff we know does not and will not work).

More than 1.2 billion spent in research by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development proves that phonics is the best way to teach reading. In fact, it has been proven time and time again that direct, systematic instruction about the alphabetic code is the most powerful weapon in the fight against illiteracy. Any responsible linguist, teacher, parent, or cognitive scientist in the research community would agree.

It is possible to teach someone to read in two weeks with phonics yet the government wants it to take 8 years or more. The only thing this does is make more money for textbook manufacturers. What's more important - making money or giving people the tools to be successful in life? The answer should be obvious.

So, we sue for the direct, systematic instruction of the alphabetic code.

What a pay day for all of us. But if you are like me, you don't want to wait for the suit—the best is available now. Get it, use it, and make sure others know and use it, and we will all win.