New NCTQ Report: Teacher Prep Lags on Literacy, Nationally and in CT
Across the country, far too many students aren't learning to read correctly. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a report yesterday, exploring the extent to which teacher preparation programs are implementing scientifically-based reading instruction. It finds that, nationally, only 25% of teacher preparation programs adequately address all core components of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Here in Connecticut—where the Right to Read legislation requires these components to be adopted in every school—only three out of nine preparation programs studied received an “A” score. (See table below.) The report also calls out preparation programs in Connecticut and three other states (Iowa, New York, and South Carolina) for using instructional practices that run contrary to the research. (Think: balanced literacy, three-cueing, leveled text.) “When programs teach practices not supported by research alongside practices that are aligned, it legitimizes these ineffective methods, risks confusing aspiring teachers, and may lead new teachers to implement debunked practices that hinder many students from becoming proficient readers,” the report says.
Regarding the private preparation programs that refused to participate in the study, NCTQ says they believe, “preparation programs have a moral obligation, as well as a legal one, to disclose to their stakeholders how they are preparing aspiring teachers and whether preparation aligns with the best available research-based practices.”
In positive news, the report singles out Colorado as the top state for teacher preparation in early literacy. A Chalkbeat story yesterday noted that Colorado's gains since 2020 demonstrate how quickly teacher preparation programs can change their practices. Kudos to our colleagues in the DFER CO chapter, who helped to lead this work under their READ legislation. Let’s get there, Connecticut!
Ending Universal School Lunches in CT
CT News Junkie reports that the program of universal school lunches, initially made available through pandemic relief funding, will come to an end in Connecticut at the conclusion of this school year. Instead, the new biennial budget appropriates $16 million to offer free lunches to households earning up to 200% of the federal poverty limit. In a statement in April, after the release of the Appropriations Committee's proposed budget, End Hunger Connecticut said, "We know from experience that no cost meals have reduced stigma and bullying in schools, while allowing students to focus on learning. Providing no cost meals for all students is the most direct way to help kids, their families and the community by improving student outcomes, and supporting families struggling with inflation and the high cost of food."
According to News 8, however, the Greater New Haven area will again offer a "Free Summer Meal Program" while school is out. It will provide meals for all students 18 and under, starting at the end of this month.
Biden's Loan Forgiveness Under Fire
Today, CNN has a story about the Supreme Court’s imminent decision on whether to strike down President Biden's student loan forgiveness program, coming this month or next. (The Court is also expected to rule on race-based admissions policies this summer - stay tuned.) Although 16 million applications were approved by the administration, no debts have yet been canceled, while the country awaits the Court.
In the meantime, the President vetoed a Republican resolution last week that would have restarted the loan repayments that were paused during the pandemic and stopped the US Department of Education from pursuing its loan forgiveness plan. "Congressional Republicans led an effort to pass a bill blocking my Administration’s plan to provide up to $20,000 in student debt relief to working and middle class Americans," said President Biden in a Tweet. "I won’t back down on helping hardworking folks. That’s why I’m vetoing this bill."
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