Source – WJLA
In a groundbreaking move on Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a sweeping proposal aimed at revolutionizing the way reading is taught in schools across New York. The initiative, which follows the lead of other states addressing literacy challenges, seeks to abandon outdated methods that experts argue have failed to adequately serve millions of children.
Hochul’s proposal is a response to mounting evidence indicating a systemic failure in the state’s literacy approach. Recent data revealed that less than half of New York’s third-grade students achieved proficiency on state reading tests last year.
People realized what was going on was not working
Addressing a diverse audience of lawmakers, teachers, and fourth graders at a public elementary school in Watervliet, just outside Albany, Hochul emphasized the gravity of the situation. “This is a very big deal because, for a long time, people realized what was going on was not working. But nobody stood up and said it needs to change,” she declared. “That’s what we’re doing here today—saying we can do better, we will do better.”
A key component of the proposal involves requiring school districts to certify that their curriculums embrace “scientifically proven” approaches to literacy by September 2025. This marks a significant departure from the existing methods that have struggled to yield positive outcomes.
Governor Kathy Hochul also outlined plans to allocate $10 million for the retraining of teachers in the “science of reading.” This methodology emphasizes teaching children to sound out words, decode them, understand their meanings, and expand their vocabulary. The governor envisions programs at the State University of New York and the City University of New York that will focus on educating teachers in these effective techniques.
Governor Hochul Unveils Second Proposal of 2024 State of the State
Disruptions caused by the pandemic and stagnant reading scores nationwide
New York’s slow response to adopting science of reading legislation has been criticized by experts and public school families alike. Over 30 states, prompted by disruptions caused by the pandemic and stagnant reading scores nationwide, have already implemented similar legislation. New York, until now, has not been among them.
Notably, last year, New York City took matters into its own hands by initiating a comprehensive overhaul of reading instruction across its 700-plus elementary schools. Schools in the city are now required to choose from a set of approved curriculums. While this shift has been deemed necessary, it has posed challenges and frustrations for some educators as they relinquish control over their teaching methods.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s reading proposal is just one among several initiatives set to be announced ahead of her State of the State address next week. During this address, she will unveil her priorities for the 2024 legislative session to lawmakers in Albany. The education overhaul, with its emphasis on evidence-based reading practices, signals a commitment to ensuring a brighter future for New York’s students and addressing longstanding challenges in the state’s education system.