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Report Compares Literacy Bills Across the Country, Civil Rights Probe into Legacy Preference

Report Compares Literacy Bills Across the Country

Last week, the Albert Shanker Institute (ASI), a think tank founded by the United Federation of Teachers and named after its former president, released a new report regarding early literacy legislation that has passed across states between 2019 and 2022. Connecticut’s Right to Read legislation, which passed in 2021, fits right into that time period. Right to Read systematizes a statewide reading response in Connecticut, based on the Science of Reading—requiring a newly established Center for Literacy Research and Reading Success (The Center) to oversee all state and local efforts related to literacy, including setting reading curriculum requirements for districts, providing professional development, hiring external literacy coaches, and coordinating with teacher preparation programs.

Delving into the details of states' reading instruction, the report compares four different categories of infrastructural supports: Curriculum, Teacher Preparation, Professional Development, and Leadership—finding that Connecticut's legislation extensively discusses each domain. (See Table 5.)

The report indicates that only nine states have passed legislation directly referring public school districts to an approved curriculum list, "an important component of implementing a quality reading program." (We know that CT is one of them!)

It also identifies The Center as a potential model for other states seeking to tackle literacy achievement disparities among different student groups. After favorable reviews from ExcelinEd as well, CT’s reading legislation has seen recognition from all ends of the ideological spectrum!

Breaking: A Civil Rights Probe into Harvard’s Legacy Preference

Yesterday, the US Department of Education confirmed that it is launching a civil rights probe into the use of legacy admissions at Harvard University. The practice of giving an admissions advantage to applicants with family members who are alumni is one that disproportionately favors white students.

Coverage by both the Daily News and The New York Times note that some elite schools have already voluntarily begun to abandon the practice—singling out Wesleyan University as the latest example.

Our affiliate, ERN CT, has been working with the legislature’s Higher Education Committee to tackle legacy preferences over the past couple of years. Looks like increasingly fertile ground - stay tuned!

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