Although I am by no means a Vitti fan, I agree with at least the idea that literacy growth takes time. People who think an 8th grader who reads at a 2nd grade level can be brought to an 8th grade level within a year or two simply don't understand how vocabulary acquisition works.
Learning how to read and write takes time, loads of time, and some students come to school (kindergarten) reading above level (sometimes 1st-3rd grade) because of their parents/community while others struggle with writing their names; studies have shown that more educated parents (doesn't have to be formally educated), usually produce more literate kids.
Other kids don't have that benefit and although they can grow, the gap is almost impossible to completely close as the kids from professional families learn at an exponential rate, whereas kids from more disadvantaged backgrounds grow at a steady rate.
Every kid can learn, but not every kid will learn at the same rate.
What Vitti suffers from is the belief that a program like Achieve 3000 is all that is needed to produce growth, so he doesn't invest in libraries (ours doesn't have books any longer) nor does he invest in books for students to take home and read. Instead, we have class sets, and when I teach seniors who tell me that they have never been asked to read a part or whole book at home, how is that preparing kids to be successful in college????
Vitti doesn't want to invest the time or money into students. He is hoping that some program will work magic. It just won't, and we will be sitting here years from now lamenting the same issues, primarily because people don't understand how to promote literacy, and no district wants to teach parents how to read with their kids so they come semi-prepared to learn.
When it comes to it, schools simply cannot do everything. They were never meant to. I learned how to read because my parents read with me, so in pre-kindergarten, I was already reading small books. There exists the disparity, and it will always exist, unfortunately, to some degree. Once again, every kid can learn and grow, but the pace cannot necessarily be dictated by a test that constantly changes. The school board needs to get it together and listen.