BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Education’s plan to boost poor reading scores in the state goes into effect after the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary (BESE) vote.

“Literacy is the basis for all learning, and as we work to create positive educational outcomes for Louisiana students, it is critical to provide struggling readers with a path to improvement,” said BESE District 4 Member Michael Melerine. “The summer literacy intervention policy approved by the board today gives schools and parents another tool to boost reading skills, address learning loss, and help ensure that all of our students are on track for academic success.”

To improve reading scores in Louisiana, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) passed a policy to help students.

“I think that we want to ensure that our third and fourth graders, like all of our elementary school students, have the best opportunity to improve their literacy skills as possible,” said BESE Representative for District 8 Preston Castille.

Now, when third and fourth graders don’t reach the reading skills required to move on, they will need to take summer school courses to catch up.

“I’m most concerned about this year’s third and fourth graders,” said State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. “Their foundational school years were disrupted more than any other cohort and we must be all hands on deck for their recovery. This measure focuses additional support for these students and is another step in the right direction.”

“I think it is important for us to try to get kids more on track and keep them on track, so they don’t slide in those summer months,” said EBR School System Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse.

Students who score below where they should be by the end of the school year will spend 30 hours over the break with an educator trained in the science of reading.

“I don’t think it is wrong at all to have kids do extra work, I think we should be actually in the school more year-round, quite frankly, because our children need it,” Dr. Narcisse said.

“I like the fact that we want to have them go to summer school, to address that issue, and the retention piece means that ‘look you’re not going to pass along unless you actually are able to demonstrate reading proficiency,” said Castille.

Some educators voiced their concerns about how this is going to be paid.

“Anytime these policies are passed, as long as we can have funding to be able to move that, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Dr. Narcisse said.

The pandemic relief funds will fund the initiative and it is active through 2024.