Article Image Alt Text

Education panel wants $15 million more for literacy education

A commission created by the Louisiana Legislature recommends spending an additional $15 million per year to support reading education for young students.
Louisiana Early Literacy Commission members say their goal is to ensure all Louisiana students are proficient readers by the end of the third grade.
John White, the state’s outgoing education superintendent, calls the commission’s report “the start of a conversation.”
“Nevertheless, the researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who developed the report have developed an impressive body of knowledge and a potentially influential set of recommendations,” he said. “I look forward to its consideration among lawmakers, board members, parents, and teachers.”
State government will spend about $3.85 billion this school year on K-12 education through its Minimum Foundation Program. Gov. John Bel Edwards says he wants to spend more on education at every level, so there will be plenty of competition for any new dollars.
Edwards and many legislators want to increase funding for early childhood care and education for children who have not yet reached school age. Edwards also hopes to boost spending for colleges and universities and continue the effort begun last year to increase K-12 teacher pay to the regional average.
The Revenue Estimating Conference, which decides how much money lawmakers will be allowed to spend, is scheduled to meet Friday afternoon. It would be the first meeting with the new legislative leaders elected Monday.
The commission report lists 17 policy recommendations, divided into four categories: instruction materials and intervention materials, school system and school leadership, teacher preparation and professional growth, and progress monitoring and communication.
For example, the report recommends the Department of Education work with local school systems to select, train and place a “literacy coach” to assist teachers in every K-2 school (kindergarten, first and second grades). It also recommends that the department select and train state-level “literacy coordinators” to provide support, such as additional training for the literacy coaches.
“Louisiana’s future is tied to early literacy,” said John Wyble, president and CEO of the Center for Development and Learning and a commission member. “The goals outlined by the commission are achievable, but only with an investment.”
The Louisiana Legislature established the Early Literacy Commission, which includes education leaders and policymakers, educators and parents, during last year’s session. The commission plans to continue meeting to review progress and issue a follow-up report in 2021.

ST. MARY NOW & FRANKLIN BANNER-TRIBUNE

Franklin Banner-Tribune
P.O. Box 566, Franklin, LA 70538
Phone: 337-828-3706
Fax: 337-828-2874

Morgan City Daily Review
P.O. Box 948, Morgan City, LA 70381
Phone: 985-384-8370
Fax: 985-384-4255