In June 2019, the state of California established the UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning as a new initiative focused on using emerging brain research to inform better practices for California’s children with learning differences. The goal of the Collaborative is to bring together resources and leading experts in neuroscience and K-12 education to strengthen educational support and new teaching methods for children with diverse learning needs, including children with dyslexia and literacy issues. The California State Budget for June 2019 included an allocation of $6 million to fund the launch of this work over the next few years.
CSUN, in collaboration with UCLA and other California State University campuses serving the Los Angeles area, has been charged with the development of teacher preparation models that will embed new knowledge about how children learn and how the brain is involved in reading and literacy. Leading the UC/CSU California Collaborative is Dr. Maryanne Wolf, widely regarded as a leading expert in the nation on the use of brain research to improve K-12 classroom practices. Working with her from the CSU is Dr. Sue Sears, a professor in the Department of Special Education at CSUN. As Dr. Wolf notes in her new book Reader Come Home: The Reading Brain in the Digital World fully two-thirds of U.S. children in the fourth grade do not read at proficient levels, making literacy one of the most pressing issues facing the state of California.