House K-12 committee recommends more elementary reading interventions
For years, leaders of Florida's education "reform" movement have touted student performance on national measures as indicators of success.
Lately, though, members of the House K-12 subcommittee have begun questioning whether some recent slippage bodes poorly for the state. After holding some workshops on the issue, the committee has put forth a proposal to change reading instruction in the elementary schools.
The introduction in the proposed bill analysis explains:
After a period of steady improvement on the FCAT reading assessment and National Assessment of Education Progress during the 2000s, reading scores over the past several years have seen a decreased rate of growth, including for students in 3rd grade. The rate of 3rd grade students performing below grade level in reading has consistently exceeded 40 percent over the past several years.
Aiming to help schools identify and help struggling readers more quickly and effectively, the committee recommends, among other things:
- Requiring teacher preparation programs to provide candidates for specified certification areas training in explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading strategies. Candidates for renewal of a certificate in the specified areas or for a reading endorsement must also receive training in those strategies.
- Prohibiting districts from waiting until a student receives a failing grade in reading to initiate interventions.
- Enhancing communication to parents by requiring updates on struggling readers every two weeks and requiring the Department of Education to develop a handbook that districts must provide to parents of students with a substantial reading deficiency.
- Extending early warning system coverage to students in kindergarten through grade 5 and specifies that a substantial reading deficiency is an indicator for students in kindergarten through grade 3.
The committee has scheduled consideration of this PCB on Wednesday.