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ERN CT Testimony on "Right to Read" Implementation

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

....we wholeheartedly support S.B. No 1094, which seeks to improve upon the “Right to Read” legislation that ERN CT advanced in 2021—through a coalition of legislators, policy advocates, and thought leaders.

There is a correct method for teaching literacy—one that’s backed up by data proving that it works—and, unfortunately, most Connecticut school districts simply are not using it yet. Statewide, only 46.7% of all third graders are meeting or exceeding expectations on English Language Arts on the state’s standardized assessment, and the outcomes are even more stark when disaggregated by race.

Since an interdisciplinary body of research has told us for decades how to do better, there is no excuse for failing to adopt a research-based approach to literacy in every classroom. “Right to Read” has put us on that path.

We commend the State Department of Education for shepherding the implementation of this bill with transparency and deliberateness to date. The amount of work and leadership that the Commissioner and her team at the Department have devoted to this statewide literacy program has been a model for other states. We also want to acknowledge Senator Miller and the Chairs of the Education Committee for their long-term commitment to the success of Right to Read.

These efforts to implement Right to Read have been complex and multi-faceted, touching upon curricula, teacher preparation, professional development, resource allocation, state-level infrastructures, and public awareness on “the why.” These pieces must all be working in concert to see true progress for students. So while there is urgency to this work, it all takes time.

We know that many districts are making changes and have begun implementing the required state reading plan with enthusiasm, but some have been racing against deadlines and financial constraints. Working together to find a compromise in timing makes sense, and will yield the best results for students, teachers, and districts.

Educators want to get this right for their students, and they deserve the requisite time and resources to implement their plans properly. This bill would briefly postpone district-level implementation of state-approved early literacy curricula so that districts have the time they need to plan and pilot the state-approved curricula and receive appropriate training.

When you know better, you do better. That goes for teaching literacy, and it goes for implementing a policy solution in the most collaborative and effective manner possible.

Please support S.B. 1094 so that districts and educators have the time they need to be successful in embracing every student’s Right to Read.


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