As you may have heard, with yesterday’s passage of SB 1202, the budget implementer bill, the Right to Read legislation we have been advocating for will become law in Connecticut! This huge accomplishment is the product of over a decade of work on the parts of Senator Pat Billie Miller, House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, the Chairs of the Education and Appropriations Committees, and members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus. (See some of what the legislators are saying below.)
I want to express my sincere gratitude to each of you who worked to help make this significant change in early literacy—from stakeholder strategy sessions and virtual forums, to conversations across your networks, to op-eds and retweets. Thanks to your hard work, for the first time ever, Connecticut now has a mandate to use the most up-to-date, evidence-based practices for literacy instruction in every K-3 classroom. Requiring districts to use the Science of Reading will finally move our state away from the balanced literacy model that has long been identified as ineffective for too many students.
This legislation also establishes a new Center for Literacy Research and Reading Success within the Connecticut State Department of Education, which will help to systematize a statewide reading response—overseeing all efforts related to literacy, collecting data on the types of programs and curricula being used in all districts, and collaborating with teacher preparation programs to make sure educators are receiving training aligned to the Science of Reading. It’s a comprehensive effort that will touch every K-3 classroom, reduce inequities across town lines, funnel more resources to struggling readers, and give teachers the tools they need to help more students succeed. In short, it’s a sea change in early literacy for Connecticut students.
Change this big couldn’t have happened without you, or without the legislators who heard what our coalition was saying about this critical problem and took action to find a solution for Connecticut’s students. We are so grateful for their leadership.
We’ll be watching to monitor the implementation of this important legislation, both within districts and at the new Center for Literacy Research and Reading Success.
But for now, I’d just like to say to all of our partners: THANK YOU!