GSE&IS Joins UC/CSU Collaborative to Support Students with Diverse Learning Needs

Maryanne Wolf will lead brain scientists and K-12 experts in addressing reading and literacy, best practices for schools.

The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies is joining with education leaders at the California State University to launch a collaborative effort to strengthen educational support and teaching for children with diverse learning needs, including children with dyslexia and literacy issues. 

The new UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning will bring together leading brain science and K-12 education experts from across the UC and CSU campuses to foster the use of new knowledge from emerging brain science to address the learning needs of California’s K-12 students and strengthen teacher development and classroom practice to improve K-12 outcomes for California’s diverse learners. 

“About one in five children in every classroom in California may have some type of learning difference that is not being adequately identified or addressed, says Maryanne Wolf, an internationally recognized cognitive neuroscientist and dyslexia expert who will lead the effort at UCLA. “Emerging brain research is providing new knowledge about how children learn and how the brain is involved in reading and literacy.  We want to build stronger links between that knowledge and how we train and support educators to teach all students.”  

With $6 million in new funding provided by the State of California in 2019, the UC/CSU California Collaborative for Neurodiversity and Learning will focus its work in three key areas during its initial three-year phase:

  • Build a network of experts in neuroscience and education and provide opportunities to collaborate, develop and share new approaches for teaching and learning based on knowledge gained from brain research around learning differences, such as dyslexia; 
  • Engage K-12 schools to increase language and literacy development for today’s learners;
  • Develop and evaluate new teacher training curriculum and innovative classroom practices based on brain research to be integrated into UC and CSU professional preparation programs and into professional development opportunities for teachers in the classrooms

“Far too many children do not learn to read at proficient levels and struggle with learning throughout their lives as a result, with harmful lifelong implications for economic and social success,” Wolf said. “This is truly one of the most important social justice issues of our time.  The new collaborative offers a great opportunity to use what we are learning about the brain and how people learn to help solve it.”