Although well below what the friends of the late Steve Carter are aiming for, state education superintendent Cade Brumley has said he plans to use $ 40 million in federal stimulus dollars in part to tackle Louisiana’s dismal reading problem.
Brumley said the state’s Department of Education clearly lacked the funds to fund a 2021 bill named after Carter, a former state official and champion of student reading who died of complications from COVID-19 last January.
The measure, House Bill 85, offers students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 reading problems up to $ 1,000 a year for expert help.
Without a dissenting vote, the Louisiana legislature approved a push to reduce the staggering number of young students who cannot read and name …
However, the annual bill is $ 159 million, and the legislature has failed to provide a means to fund the ambitious program.
Brumley said he was launching “our version” of the bill which would provide one-to-one lessons to qualified families for children with math or English difficulties.
Families would receive vouchers to be able to hire tutors of their choice.
“We are working on the legal processes to put this in place,” he said in a recent meeting with the editorial board of The Advocate.
No one disputes the problem.
Only 43% of kindergarten students read at grade level, 54% of first graders, 56% of second graders and 53% of third graders.
After years of neglect, public education officials are launching plans to improve the reading skills of kindergarten, first and second grade students …
Brumley said 117,000 students – about 17% of enrollments – attend schools rated “D” or “F” by the state.
The act is called the Steve Carter Literacy Program.
Carter was elected to State House in 2007, where he served three terms, including chairman of the House Education Committee.
Some longtime friends of the late lawmaker wondered why the state couldn’t do more, especially as public schools are receiving around $ 4 billion from three rounds of federal aid to help fight the pandemic of coronavirus.
Rep. Scott McKnight, R-Baton Rouge and sponsor of the bill, said on Tuesday he had exchanged messages with Brumley but had not told him about the Superintendent’s plan.
McKnight said he knew from the start that it would be difficult to shell out dollars for the reading initiative.
State lawmakers approved spending $ 2 million to tackle Louisiana’s alarming reading problem for its youngest students, in part because a …
“But I felt it was important to set the schedule,” he said. “We hope to get some money in the years to come to start snacking.”
The money Brumley plans to use for tutoring is part of the 10% set aside of federal dollars going into the state.
Local school districts get 90% of the money and Brumley said in June he was ordering school systems to prioritize literacy.
Reading problems in Louisiana have lasted for generations.
However, the pandemic has complicated literacy and other long-standing challenges for public schools after 18 months of upheaval in the classroom.
“The current health crisis and weather events have caused an unprecedented disruption in the education of students across Louisiana,” the department said in documents related to the tutoring effort.
“As school systems resume teaching, they must plan for the unfinished learning that students experienced in the wake of the pandemic and hurricanes. “