The Senate continues to work through the AFY23 by hearing from the departments and agencies in our state. This is part of the process of each chamber exercising their legislative responsibility.

The meeting of the Joint Senate Education and Higher Education Committees held their gathering listening to the various voices focusing on literacy.  There were presentations by DECAL, GOSA, Get GA Reading, and SREB.  All presenters provided perspective on the literacy challenge noting that teaching young children is most difficult due to the human factor.  The child’s environment at home having the utmost impact on the reading preparedness of youngsters as they enter the doors of their elementary schools for the first time.  A mid 1990’s study on the vocabulary words children hear and understand at home (click to review (HART and RISELY) summary) and how its affecting each child’s reading readiness, sheds a lot of light on the uphill literacy struggle based on a certain set of circumstances.  The results of this research lines up with the challenges presented by some of the presenters at this Joint meeting. Noting that students show up to school at 5 years old thousands of vocabulary words behind the age appropriate expectation for each student to reach the goal of being able to read by the 3rd grade. This literacy/reading debate of the politicians continues and it is definitely sparking questions and conversation concerning the teaching of reading.  One other key presentation was by Dr. Stephen Pruitt head of SREB who cited the Mississippi Miracle Click to read a short article on the Mississippi Miracle sharing their journey to reach some significant and sustained improvements in reading outcomes throughout the state which was an interesting piece of data.  Mississippi now leads the nation in students gains in reading and other areas.

There were no education bills heard in committee today. legislative day 15 is scheduled for tomorrow.

GSSA remains actively engaged in the political process and will provide information to assist our politicians to propose a balanced and reasonable policy approach to this complex educational/reading challenge.

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