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Reading woes a legislative priority but financing left undone | Education – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-06-19 19:00:00 –

Without voting against it, the Louisiana State Capitol approved a push to reduce an astonishing number of unreadable young students and named it after the late Steve Carter, a former representative who defended the cause. It was.

What lawmakers didn’t do was provide money to get the literacy campaign off the ground.

The bill, House Building 85, won House Approval 99-0 and cleared Senate 36-0.

Almost every group advocating public school issues supported the plan, including Stand For Children, the Louisiana Child Care Association, the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, the Louisiana Public Charter School Association, the Louisiana Board of Education Association, and the Louisiana School Supervisors Association. ..

Under this bill, students from kindergarten to fifth grade who have reading problems will receive up to $ 1,000 a year so they can learn to read before reading.

“I think this program aims to get our children back on track so that they can become meaningful members of society,” said Jason Hughes, co-sponsor of the bill. A member of the Diet told the House of Education.

However, the law has a high price tag of $ 159 million a year.

After years of neglect, state education leaders have begun plans to improve the reading comprehension of kindergarten students.

“Before we can raise money, we need to establish this program,” R-Baton Rouge Rep. Scott McKnight, the bill’s chief sponsor, told a colleague. “We hope we can get some money along the way.”

Where it comes from remains a mystery.

HB85 states that this effort is “subject to appropriation.” No legislative shorthand will happen until a source of funding is found.

The state has raised nearly $ 4 billion in federal incentives from three aids since March 2020.

However, 90% of the dollar is left to the discretion of 69 school districts in the state. “We instructed the system to prioritize literacy,” said state education supervisor Cade Bramley.

Bramley said his department is in favor of the bill, but it is not possible to set up an office to carry out the program without regular funding.

State legislatures have approved spending $ 2 million to tackle the alarming reading problem for the youngest student in Louisiana. This is partly …

“The education community was hoping that the budget would be allocated through the state legislature,” he said. “Unfortunately, it went through that process without diversion.”

No one argues that Louisiana has a major reading problem.

Only 43% of kindergarten students read at the grade level, 54% in first grade, 56% in second grade, and 53% in third grade.

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According to experts, not being able to read by the third grade can impair the ability to learn a career in the rest of the school and drop out of high school three to four times more likely.

Already, nearly 160,000 children are struggling to read.

“Only the number of qualified students shows the problem,” McKnight told the house panel.

Brumley makes literacy one of his top priorities.

The new report shows that the youngest student in Louisiana’s reading score has plummeted for the third consecutive year, undoubtedly raising a danger signal …

It’s also a big part of why he’s promoting the first K-2 accountability system in Louisiana. This includes checking how children read three times a year and assessing their literacy performance and growth on a regular basis.

The state has spent about $ 200 million on literacy over the next five years, most of which is funded by federal grants.

Ronnie Morris, a member of Louisiana’s Supreme Board of Education, said last week that the Mississippi River left the state behind. The Mississippi River made the biggest improvement in fourth grade reading in the US 2019 report card.

In the same year, 26% of fourth-year Louisiana students scored reading comprehension or better on the same test, compared to an average of 34% in the United States.

“It’s a big disappointment that Louisiana didn’t prioritize funding this literacy program, which serves about 160,000 K-5 students reading below grade,” said the United States Children’s Federation politics. Strategy Director Kelly Botger said.

“Our children are more suitable,” Bottger said.

On Monday, State Education Supervisor Cade Brumley outlined potential drastic changes in public school operations to address the shortcomings …

Proponents expect the dollar to be found in the state’s $ 37 billion operating budget.

“I’m very optimistic, hoping that money will be spent for this very valuable purpose,” Hughes said. “I and my colleagues recognize that the Louisiana crisis is related to literacy and there is a great need to address it.”

McKnight’s bill is intended for K-3 students reading below grade.

Grades 4 and 5 who are below proficiency in the state’s major standardized exams are also eligible for tutoring, after-school assistance, summer school, teaching materials, and more.

The law initially required spending up to $ 500 per student. This halves the $ 159 million price tag.

McKnight said he doubled his aid when Florida officials told him that $ 500 wasn’t enough to make a long-term difference.

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