Teach Plus Indiana issued the following statement in support of literacy legislation, SB1, SB6, and HB1304, as it continues to move through the Indiana General Assembly:
Teach Plus and Teach Plus teacher leaders commend the ongoing effort of the Indiana General Assembly to ensure every child in Indiana can read by successfully passing SB1, SB6, and HB1304 in the House. As the Indiana Senate takes up this legislation in the second half of the general assembly, Teach Plus teacher leaders call on all policymakers to support SB1, SB6, and HB1304 to ensure every Indiana student receives literacy support grounded in the science of reading to prepare them for academic and life success.
“As a state, we have made a significant investment in moving our students toward literacy proficiency via the science of reading and it is imperative we continue to create intentional policy and structure to set our schools, teachers, and students up for success in its implementation. These bills would allow us to do just that,” said Teach Plus Indiana Executive Director Rachel Hathaway. “I applaud our legislature for continuing to prioritize literacy and hope that we can celebrate the passage of these laws in the second half of the session.”
With its focus on early interventions and scaffolded support prior to students entering 3rd grade, SB1 would continue to create and bolster the structure needed to better identify and support struggling readers early. Centered on students in grades 4-8, SB6 would provide the structure needed to identify older students who are struggling to meet reading proficiency. HB1304 is aimed at clearly defining the role and responsibilities for Indiana instructional coaches focused explicitly on literacy. The bill codifies the criteria and responsibilities of these positions to ensure that literacy coaches are well qualified, effective, and well supported in helping teachers and school staff understand, prepare, and leverage instruction aligned to the science of reading.
Teach Plus teacher leaders have maintained a steady drumbeat of advocacy around improving literacy for their students. They have called for a clear definition of the instructional coach position, emphasizing the need to protect these coaches as explicitly focused on literacy. Teach Plus teachers leaders have also met with legislators to discuss the merits of these bills and testified in support of this legislation.
“As an urban elementary educator for the past 18 years, I have watched student after student come to my classroom, struggling to read. I am seeing, firsthand, how the gaps in literacy achievement are growing at an alarming rate. This is why I’m so excited about our current shift to the science of reading,” said Teach Plus Policy Fellow and Wayne Township educator Sarah Archer. “I look forward to learning and implementing, alongside my incredible colleagues, best practices to help increase reading proficiency in my school, district, and state.”
“As a special educator who supports adult learners, I often encounter students who didn’t receive the reading support and interventions they needed earlier in their education journey,” said Rebecca Zirnheld, Teach Plus Senior Policy Fellow who teaches at Christel House DORS. “Now, after being trained in the science of reading, I have the right tools to support these adults to reading success. Setting this legislation in place will allow us to improve our students’ literacy rates early on and avoid having more students struggle with reading into adulthood.”
About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. In pursuing this mission, Teach Plus is guided by the Student Opportunity Mandate: All students should have the opportunity to achieve their potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for postsecondary success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students. teachplus.org