Under existing law, the state board of education (state board) is required to adopt an approved list of reading assessments, and the department of education (department) is required to adopt advisory lists of literacy programming and professional development in literacy. With regard to the list of approved assessments and the advisory lists, the bill:
- Clarifies that the assessments and literacy programming must be evidence-based or scientifically based and must be aligned with the state academic standards;
- Directs the state board and the department to review the approved list of assessments every 4 years and the advisory lists of literacy programming and professional development programs every 2 years;
- Requires the process for appealing the materials placed on the assessment list or the advisory lists to include appeals by school districts, boards of cooperative services, and charter schools (local education providers) and directs the department to consider certain materials provided by appellants; and
- Requires the department to ensure that the process for reviewing and adding assessments to the approved list and materials to the advisory lists must include consultation with local education providers and be transparent.
The existing statutes specify the portion of the early literacy fund that the department must distribute as grants through the early literacy grant program. The bill allows for an increase in the amount distributed through the early literacy grant program.
The bill requires a local education provider, upon the request of the department, to provide specific information explaining how the local education provider spent the per-pupil intervention money it received. The bill expands the purposes for which a local education provider may use the per-pupil intervention money and requires the local education provider to use the money for early-grade reading initiatives rather than replacing money received from other sources.
The bill directs the state board, in adopting rules for applying for grants through the early literacy grant program, to ensure that rural school districts and small rural school districts, and district and institute charter schools located within rural and small rural school districts, can submit simplified grant applications. The bill directs the state board to award specified percentages of the total amount allocated for the grant program to applications to fund certain types of programs.
The bill directs the commissioner of education (commissioner), by September 1, 2018, to convene a working group to review the creation and use of reading-to-ensure-academic-development (READ) plans by local education providers and to recommend any necessary regulatory or implementation changes to continue and improve the use and effectiveness of READ plans. The commissioner must submit a report of the findings and recommendations to the state board and the education committees of the general assembly by February 1, 2020.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)