Louisiana Dept. of Education to tackle state’s literacy problem

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — Forty million dollars in stimulus money is being allocated to fight Louisiana’s reading problem. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley said that money is just one piece of the literacy investment.

“What we need, frankly, is a reading revival,” said Brumley.

The greatest educational challenge that this state faces is early childhood education, Brumley said right now half of the children entering school aren’t even kindergarten-ready.

“We know that if students aren’t on grade-level by the end of third grade, they are three to four times more likely to be a high school dropout, and we know that 80% of people in prisons across the country don’t have a high school degree,” said Brumley.

The goal is to make sure that students have the resources they need early on. A parent voucher program will put dollars in the hands of parents to make the best decisions for their children.

“I think that we have taken reading for granted for way too long and need to get back to basics in many ways — about teaching kids phonics, and phonemic awareness and working on fluency and vocabulary and comprehension,” said Brumley.

With the parent voucher program, the state will fund additional tutoring support for students needing help in areas of reading and math. Getting children to the reading level they should be on by the third grade will be a coordinated effort between the Louisiana Department of Education, parents, and schools.

Brumley said combating this generational issue starts with helping parents help their kids and while the program will take some time to roll out, it’s a step in the right direction.

The parent voucher program ties into the Superintendent’s Louisiana Comeback plan, an initiative to get schools across the state to overcome what he calls “a learning loss,” as a result of the pandemic.

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