Last week the House Education Committee gave a full hearing – more than seven hours – to House Bill 12-1238, the proposed Colorado Early Literacy Act that would require improved literacy programs in the early elementary grades, create a preference for retention of third graders with deficient reading skills, and add early literacy results to the factors in the state’s accountability system for rating schools. [Education News Colorado]
H.B. 1238 passed the House Education Committee 10-3. BVSD continues to seek amendments to H.B. 1238 to reduce unfunded regulatory mandates on classroom teachers and district administrators as well as clarification of language regarding retention.
BVSD has been actively involved with the proposed legislation and stated our strong support for improved student literacy fostering overall student success. We are advocating for adequate school funding to provide appropriate early intervention with quality preschool experiences for all students, full-time free Kindergarten for all students, and extended school year including intervention and enrichment experiences for students who lack literacy skills starting as early as Kindergarten.
High quality professional development should be provided so educators are able to maximize the resources and interventions. We are supportive of appropriate assessment to diagnose student needs and guide appropriate interventions, however, we have concerns about excessive assessment for accountability purposes because it takes teachers away from quality instruction. BVSD representatives have been outspoken in our opposition to the use of student grade retention as an appropriate solution for literacy delays. Educational research is clear that grade retention is not an appropriate intervention for most students. Students will benefit from more time for instruction by offering full-time kindergarten and high quality summer school.
BVSD looks forward to working in partnership with legislators and business leaders to promote student literacy. We also want to be realistic about what can be accomplished until we secure needed resources to adequately address the students' needs.
The Early Literacy Bill will now move to the House Appropriations Committee.
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