Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley hopes the state board agrees with his approach to fix the state’s “literacy crisis”: he wants to send students in grades K through 4 to 30 hours of mandatory summer school if they’re not reading on grade level by the end of the regular academic year, Baton Rouge Proud reports.
His initiative to improve literacy rates among Louisiana’s youngest students, who he says have fallen behind due to hurricanes and the pandemic, tackles the problem head-on, an approach needed much more following years of turmoil.
“It was a year of starts and stops and interruptions … virtual face to face, virtual starts and stops,” the news site quoted him as saying. “We have to be laser-focused on the current third and fourth graders across the state because of the unprecedented disruptions they have faced the last two years.”
Certainly, studies have shown that students are less likely to get a high school diploma if they’re behind in reading at the end of third grade. Furthermore, poverty compounds the effect.
A 2012 study by the Annie E Casey Foundation found that a whopping 26 percent of students who were poor for at least a year and weren’t reading proficiently in third grade never finished high school. For comparison, only 9 percent of children with basic reading skills and 4 percent of proficient readers drop out.
So if the state board gives this proposal the green light at their meeting on October 11, children would meet in small groups during the 30 hours of the proposed summer school. The curriculum, Mr Brumley said, focuses on phonics, which is a beginning.