Wisconsin Gov. Evers recently signed a law that would help to improve reading scores by providing reading tests and employing coaches to help struggling students. The law prioritizes phonics over memorization.
Initially, Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction and Gov. Evers opposed the bill due to low-scoring third graders being required to repeat reading classes – but agreed once it was changed to a remedial program and summer courses.
Evers remarked it will nurture students’ literacy and reading skills whether they are. Kindergarteners up to third grade will be required to take three reading tests a year – the bill was modeled after similar laws passed from other states, particularly Mississippi.
School Reading Overhaul
Republican lawmakers worked with Evers’ Education Department to create a plan to establish this bill into both public and private schools, which apply to those already part of the school voucher program. $50 million was reserved for reading coaches and training teachers.
The Council on Early Literacy Curricula will be established in DPI, it will be composed of nine members whose responsibility is to provide educational material to schools for early literacy. The members will be chosen by the state superintendent, GOP-Assembly and Senate
Depending on the circumstances or scores, full-time reading coaches would be implemented. Around $10 million will be spent to hire 64 individuals, while the remaining funds would go to teacher training and the literacy curricula.
The state’s schools primarily used balanced literacy, which focuses on the balance of teacher’s reading and proposing independent learning and writing assessments to students. But the new law decides to pour focus on phonics, the relationship of sounds with letters.
Evers adds this is only a portion of what they’re planning on improving the state’s education, they are working on improving other factors such as mental health services, school lunch, workforce and classroom sizes.