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Special Edition: ERN CT's New Literacy Report Released Today

This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: Just in Time for Back to School—ERN CT’s New Literacy Report Released Today!

ERN CT New Release: Steady Habits, Stagnant Results

Today, Education Reform Now CT, DFER CT’s 501c3 affiliate, released the report Steady Habits, Stagnant Results: CT Solutions for Equity & Excellence in Literacy. While we know that building solid literacy skills is important during the early years, too few of the state’s 3rd and 4th graders are meeting grade-level expectations. The state also has wide gaps in reading attainment by race. These disparities reflect an ongoing civil rights injustice that echoes a painful national and statewide history of deliberately denying segments of our society an equal opportunity to read and learn. And the truth is, literacy is a struggle for all students, not only students from traditionally under-served populations. We have to do better. The Science of Reading is a well-established protocol for teaching literacy, and right here in Connecticut we have piloted a successful program to intervene using this research on behalf of early readers. Staying the course on a “Balanced Literacy” approach—using “cuing” and memorization without a proper focus on phonics—leaves far too many students behind, but we continue to see it implemented in school districts across the state. Over the last ten years across Connecticut, learning disability diagnosis have been on the rise, and nearly half of all Connecticut State University’s students required at least one remedial course in their first two years on campus. There are clear steps Connecticut can take to begin addressing this serious problem. To start, we should sufficiently fund the existing, successful CT K-3 Literacy Initiative (CK3LI) program for reading intervention and professional development, especially as a requirement to our higher need Alliance Districts. During its pilot run, this program more than doubled the number of students meeting grade-level goals for literacy, and the number of students at risk for reading failure shrank by more than half in these schools. Connecticut can also team up with our higher education institutions to implement a Science of Reading program for all new educators, and increase transparency and accountability by developing reporting standards for all districts on what curriculum they currently utilize. In today’s Hartford Courant, Amy explains that, “For a state with Connecticut’s resources, reputation for great schools, and one of the best educated workforces, our literacy struggles should be an embarrassing wake up call. It doesn’t have to be this way, and we know what works. A state-led literacy effort, implemented with fidelity, will make Connecticut students more successful, more secure, and poised to lead our economy.”

  • Read the Report: Steady Habits, Stagnant Results: CT Solutions for Equity & Excellence in Literacy

  • Amy’s OpEd Today in the Hartford Courant

  • More on Why “Balanced Literacy” Is Debunked: At A Loss For Words

And Speaking of New Releases!

Please join us to welcome our newest DFER, sweet baby Ella May Golos who arrived yesterday! If our weekly newsletter is missing something these next few months, please know our multi-talented author Nicki will be back soon to run the show. In the meantime, bear with us as we try to fill her shoes!

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