Read to Succeed legislation clears Senate
PEELER PLAN WOULD ENSURE EARLY READING PROFICIENCY
Columbia, SC – April 10, 2014 – The state Senate today passed on third reading the Read to Succeed bill, a plan introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler to help ensure South Carolina’s children are reading on grade level.
Read to Succeed is the first substantive piece of education reform passed by either chamber of the General Assembly in several years, and is premised upon the idea that proficient reading is the foundation of all future learning in school. Peeler’s plan recognizes this, and starts by ending social promotion for third graders who are not yet reading on grade level.
“There’s a reason that the old song about the three R’s puts reading first,” Peeler said. “Children across the state are making it way too far in our school system without having this building block for success in place. It’s time we fix that, so we’re not setting these kids up for failure later in their educational journey.”
Peeler also noted, “I want to specifically thank Governor Haley for efforts to support and promote this initiative. The Governor’s Executive Budget funded $29.5 million for reading coaches, which was a tremendous catalyst to get things clicking this year. By providing a dedicated funding source, she brought focus to the Read to Succeed proposal, and led the House to adopt it in its budget.”
Among the bill’s provisions:
• beginning in 2017-2018 – a 3rd grader not reading on a 3rd grade level will be retained
• there will be a state reading plan and a district reading plan (to be approved by the State Department of Education)
• beginning with school year 2014-2015, provides a readiness assessment for 4K and 5K, as teachers need to know how far along a child is when they first come to school
• gives school districts flexibility to provide summer reading camps, with a minimum of 6 weeks, 4 days per week, and 4 hours per day
• transportation to summer reading camps will be provided at no cost to the parents
• districts who have trouble finding summer reading camp teachers will be allowed to work with other districts – or contact for services
• if a child has been found to need the summer reading camp — at any grade level — there will be no cost
The legislation also creates a statutory phase-in of a statewide 4-year-old Kindergarten program, which will be implemented based upon availability of funding.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
This is confusing, having these two proposals jammed into one bill. But maybe having the Republican leader’s strong advocacy will help both proposals in the House. Maybe. I haven’t followed this closely enough to know…