Statement from BESE President regarding legislation requiring early literacy training for K-3 educators

Apr 29, 2021, 12:06 PM by BESE Admin

Today the Louisiana Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 216 by Senator Robert Mills. The proposed legislation addresses the literacy gap in early elementary classrooms by requiring kindergarten through third grade teachers to complete a state-approved, foundational literacy skills instruction course as part of their ongoing professional development. The text of SB 216 may be viewed here.

BESE President Sandy Holloway issued the following statement regarding the bill:

"Literacy is the cornerstone of all learning – a strong foundation of language fluency, vocabulary and comprehension prepares our students for success in school and in life. Unfortunately, for the past three years, literacy rates for students have been declining. It is no surprise then that achievement gaps are also widening. Our achievement gap is a literacy gap, and students across our state are counting on us to prioritize their literacy so they have a chance at educational and lifetime success.

As BESE President, I am so proud that Senator Mills has put this stake in the ground for our students and I am proud to stand with him in support of drastically improving the literacy skills of students in our state and providing our hard-working educators the training they need to improve their craft of teaching. As a teacher and prior administrator, I have seen kids struggle and watched teachers work tirelessly to help them. This quality training for educators will give them quality training they so desperately want and need – all in service of helping more kids read and succeed.

SB 216 boldly addresses a critical student skills gap and supports Louisiana educators through its requirement of state-approved training in literacy instruction. Through this legislation and related BESE policy, we can ensure that our K-3 teachers are well-trained in the science of reading and our younger students properly develop these critical early skills."

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For more information, contact:
Kevin Calbert

BESE is the administrative policymaking body for elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana. The Board sets key education initiatives and works to outline an education agenda to achieve continuous improvement of public education as measured by student and school achievement