What the bill does:
House Bill 3198 would create an Early Literacy Success Initiative for children in pre-k through third grade. It would authorize funding for up to $10 million from the Student Success Act’s Statewide Education Initiatives.
The bill is aimed at young children in connection with the third grade benchmark for reading, which is often used as an indicator to determine whether a child will struggle with literacy going forward.
Data has shown that literacy rates are low, statewide and across the nation. These numbers have been further exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic and period of online learning.
According to the latest data, which reflects the 2021-22 school year, fewer than 44% of Oregon students tested were proficient in English language arts. This is a 9 percentage point drop from 2019’s 53% proficiency. For third graders in particular, 39.4% tested proficient in English in 2022, compared to 46.5% in 2019.
If the bill moves forward, the funding will be distributed to districts based on enrollment. Districts would be able to use the funding toward:
- Literacy coaching to support educators.
- Culturally responsive summer learning opportunities for students.
- Tutoring for students who need more time and intensive support.
- Adopting and implementing an early literacy curriculum, professional learningopportunities and culturally relevant instructional materials that are aligned with thescience of reading and writing.
Who’s behind it:
HB 3198 was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators. Chief sponsors include:
- Sen. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro
- Sen Michael Dembrow, D-Portland
- Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend
- Rep. Hoa Nguyen, D-Portland
- Rep. Ricki Ruiz, D-Gresham
- Rep. Ben Bowman, D-Tigard
Where it is in the legislative process:
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education Feb. 9, then subsequently referred to the Joint Committee On Ways and Means. It is not yet scheduled for a public hearing.
Miranda Cyr reports on education for The Register-Guard. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter @mirandabcyr.