Kentucky continues to fall behind in many areas of education, including reading proficiency. Legislation moving through the 2022 session supplies more money to support students and ensures early literacy improvements.
The state House passed House Bill 226, sponsored by Rep. James Allen Tipton, Monday afternoon to invest funds in the “Read to Succeed” program.
The legislation, a partner bill to Senate Bill 9, would allocate $32 million total over the next two years to establish a new high quality professional development program focused on early literacy.
Currently, school districts can apply for Read to Achieve (RTA) grants and a teacher is placed in a school where students are sent for early intervention. This new policy does not impact the Read to Achieve program or the $15 million per year allocated to that program in any way, but instead would establish the Read to Succeed program to compliment current efforts.
Rep. Tipton said on the House floor that early literacy is the foundation for life, and it is critical for Kentucky students to be able to read at the highest possible grade level by the end of 3rd grade. He added the bill, which would go into effect during the 2023-2024 school year, would implement evidence-based support for struggling students.
Rep. Tina Bojanowski, a Louisville teacher, also spoke about the bipartisan bill on the floor, stating the legislation has an opt-in provision for teachers to receive this training and said this will help teachers be more prepared to help their students.
“Students deserve for their teachers to have the most comprehensive training,” Bojanowski said. “I plan on signing up for the training as soon as I am able.”
House Bill 226 passed 86-7 with some changes that were made in committee, making it different than Senate Bill 9. The House bill will now move to the Senate for consideration of those changes.