Legislative Session Preview: Literacy at the Forefront
By Michael Willis
The legislative session starts this week, and we expect it to be action-packed with 902 pieces of legislation filed, as of Friday, April 9. At the Center for Development and Learning, we have spent the past year meeting with legislators across the state to share about the literacy crisis our children face and the solutions that can change our story. Our legislative priorities are focused on equity in education, school-readiness for all children, Louisiana’s students are reading proficiently by the end of the third grade, and teachers are prepared and supported using the science of reading.
There are three major pieces of early literacy legislation we’re watching:
- House Bill 85 by Rep. McKnight and Rep. Hughes uses a screener to identify students in K-3 who are reading below grade level or is at risk for reading difficulties. Once these students are identified, they could apply to receive a payment of $500 per student per year for services to improve literacy scores.
- Senate Bill 216 by Sen. Robert Mills seeks to require teachers in K-3 to complete a course in foundational literacy instruction.
- Senate Bill 222 by Sen. Sharon Hewitt aims to develop a screener for K-3 students to identify their current reading level and requires BESE to revise the teacher certification program to include foundation literacy instruction.
We’re thrilled about all of the positive movement that is happening in the early literacy arena, and we will keep everyone abreast on the status of these bills. We will continue to work with Superintendent Cade Brumley and his team at the Louisiana Department of Education to put a spotlight on the importance of early literacy to ensure everyone is empowered through literacy.
Director of Public Policy