PA 15-137—HB 6974

Education Committee

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP TASK FORCE CONCERNING THE CREATION OF A DIRECTOR OF READING INITIATIVES AT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

SUMMARY: This act creates a director of reading initiatives position in the State Department of Education (SDE) to:

1. administer the intensive reading instruction program (see BACKGROUND) to improve literacy in kindergarten through grade three and close the achievement gap between student groups;

2. help the education commissioner develop and administer the teacher and principal professional development program about scientifically-based reading research and instruction;

3. administer the reading incentive program and coordinated statewide reading plan for students in kindergarten through grade three (see BACKGROUND);

4. help local and regional boards of education administer reading assessments and implement school district reading plans;

5. provide parents and guardians with information on, and assistance with, reading and literacy instruction;

6. address English language learner reading and literacy issues; and

7. develop and administer any other statewide reading and literacy initiatives for kindergarten through grade 12.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

BACKGROUND

Intensive Reading Instruction

The law requires the education commissioner to create an intensive reading program for kindergarten through grade three and select five low-achieving elementary schools to participate each year. The overall program includes an intensive reading instruction strategy, reading intervention plans, and summer school programs. The goals of these programs are to improve literacy and narrow the achievement gaps between student groups (CGS 10-14u).

Coordinated Statewide Reading Plan

The law requires SDE to develop a statewide reading plan for students in kindergarten through grade three. The plan must contain research-driven strategies to produce effective reading instruction and improve student performance. Among other things, it must:

1. align K-3 reading instruction and assessment methods with Common Core State Standards;

2. coordinate reading instruction between home and school, creating opportunities for parent involvement; and

3. include incentives for schools that have demonstrated significant reading improvement (CGS 10-14v).

Incentive Program

The law requires the education commissioner to establish an incentive program to increase the number of students who meet reading goals on Connecticut mastery tests. The program must demonstrate instruction methods that schools can use to increase the number of students meeting mastery test reading goals by 10%. The commissioner may use incentives such as public recognition, financial rewards, enhanced autonomy, and operational flexibility to reward participating, successful schools (CGS 10-14w).

OLR Tracking: LRH: KD: VR: cmg