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Reading Recovery and Common Core State Standards
Reading Recovery can play a vital role in ensuring that students are able to meet the goals of the Common Core State Standards. Free resources include a 20-minute webcast, an article from The Journal of Reading Recovery, and a report from RRCNA.



altRRCNA is the only association advocating exclusively for Reading Recovery and early literacy intervention.


Hot Topics

Update on ESEA Reauthorization
Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, S. 1177 Passes the Senate 81-17
On Thursday, July 16, just a week after the Senate began deliberations on the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), S. 1177 was passed. The bill would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Important to Reading Recovery is that the ECAA includes the LEARN Act language in Title II, Part D. The bill allows state education agencies to target funding to schools whose literacy needs are high while allowing local education agencies to decide on the best interventions for students who are economically disadvantaged, have disabilities, and/or are English learners. This comprehensive literacy program aligns early childhood, elementary school, middle grades, and high school so that teachers can collaborate across academic levels and students have seamless literacy learning. 

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A total of 178 amendments were proposed and 165 were adopted. The Senate chose to adopt an amendment that would require 60 votes in the affirmative on certain amendments for acceptance. It appears this action was in response to remarks that the President would veto the final bill if it contained language in conflict with the administration’s commitment to Title I, which is designed to assist states in meeting the academic needs of disadvantaged students. By the end of that first day, agreement had been reached on nearly 20 amendments.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced an amendment that would allow a state to submit a declaration of intent to the U.S. secretary of education to combine certain funds to improve the academic achievement of students. Because they did not achieve 60 votes in the affirmative, the amendment could not be agreed to.

Another amendment was introduced by Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), that would allow states to let federal funds for the education of disadvantaged children follow those children to an accredited or state-approved public or private school or supplemental educational services program. The amendment did not pass (45-52).

The amendments that were agreed to cover a broad range of issues with minimal controversy.

Since the House of Representatives passed its ESEA reauthorization bill last week (see below), we expect a House-Senate Joint Conference Committee will be appointed to resolve the differences between the two bills. Where both bills include the same language, those provisions will be accepted. However, where there are differences or where one bill includes a specific provision and the other does not, the joint committee must come to agreement on whether to create compromise language or take the language from one bill over the other. Upon completion of this process, the final bill moves back to each chamber (Senate and House) for a vote, and if passed moves to the President for signature.
Student Success Act, H.R. 5
The House bill to reauthorize the ESEA, the Student Success Act, H.R. 5, was introduced in the House in February and reported out of the House Education and Workforce Committee later that month. Although H.R. 5 was scheduled for the floor vote on February 27, the bill was subsequently stalled until July 8, when it passed by a vote of 218-213.

The bill restricts the role of the federal government by restoring authority to the states and to local educational agencies. In fact, the language in the final House bill specifically restricts the authority of the U.S. secretary of education in matters historically residing with the states and local educational agencies.

While preserving the requirements for data collection by racial and ethnic groups, H.R. 5 leaves to the states the authority to determine academic standards and criteria for measuring student achievement. Amendments from both Democrats and Republicans are being introduced and receiving bi-partisan support. However, the Republican majority has ensured support for such issues as elimination of federal mandates, consolidation of federal education programs to provide greater flexibility, Title I portability, and reductions in reporting requirements.


Bipartisan Senate ESEA Bill a good first step

Senators Lamar Alexander, R-TN and Patty Miller, D-WA the chairman and ranking member of the education committee, respectively, are sponsors of an ESEA reauthorization bill being heralded as a “good first step.” Formally titled the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015,” key provisions address Title I, accountability, data collection, academic standards, student assessment, teacher evaluation systems, and more.

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RRCNA and other members of the national Advocates for Literacy coalition are pleased that the LEARN Act, a comprehensive state literacy program proposal, in included in the bill. Link to a summary of the proposed legislation and Advocates for Literacy letter of support.

Reading Recovery expands efforts to secure increased Congressional support for comprehensive literacy programs
RRCNA, along with other literacy advocates drafted and signed on to a letter to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), urging them to provide strong leadership to expand federal support to improve reading achievement among those students most disadvantaged economically.

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In addition, Advocates for Literacy secured Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and six other members of the House of Representatives—Steven Cohen (D-TN), David Loebsack (D-IA), James McGovern (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Charles Rangel (D-NY—to co-sponsor the LEARN Act, H.R. 858. The LEARN Act would establish a comprehensive literacy program funded by the Department of Education. It is expected that a Senate companion bill will be introduced in the coming weeks.

RRCNA and other literacy advocates were successful in securing Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WA) to introduce Amendment # 18 at the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Mark up of its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), H.R. 5, Student Success Act. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated by voice vote. The amendment, if adopted, would have incorporated into the House ESEA bill the key provisions of H.R. 858.

Regarding the FY-2016 President’s budget, the U.S. Secretary of Education has requested that the Striving Readers Program continue to be sustained at the FY-2015 level at $160 million, though the department has significantly changed some key provisions of the program. Advocates for Literacy are working to return the program to being “comprehensive” once again.

FY 2015 budget unlikely to result in education increases
The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) has responded to the FY 2015 budget and its effect on education by presenting a briefing on Capitol Hill.
Because of the sequestration ceiling previously agreed to in Congress, there is little hope for Congress to increase funding for Title I, IDEA, literacy and other formula programs in FY 2015. 

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Non-defense discretionary (NDD) caps for FY 2015 and FY 2016 are the same as those for 2014. So, unless Congress replaces the sequester caps, there is little room for additional investments in education.
Other than an agreement to raise the FY 2015 sequester cap, it will be difficult to fund the proposed new education programs and/or in­crease funding for existing education programs proposed in the budget, according to a May Capitol Hill briefing conducted by the Committee for Education Funding.
Although President Obama proposed an increase of $1.3 billion over last year’s amount for the Education Department, it is largely for the administration’s Preschool for All Initiative and competitive grant programs. However, a number of leading Congressional Repub­licans and Democrats, including House Educa­tion and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (MN-R) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-D), the ranking member of the House Ap­propriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education panel, are supporting a reduction in funds for competi­tive grants and an increase in formula grant funding.

The CEF budget response is available at http://cef.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/2015BudgetResponse_Web_Intro.pdf.

Little movement seen in renewing federal education laws 
Skepticism remains high that federal education laws, already outdated, might not get reauthorized by the end of this congressional session (December), or even by the end of President Obama’s second term in 2016. Partisanship in Congress seems to have put most education bills in limbo.  As a result, the Obama administration has taken action on education policy through a series of waivers easing parts of the No Child Left Behind Act.  This has given the U.S. Department of Education more say in what happens in schools, but these solutions are temporary and make for an uncertain future for educators. Of high importance is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, last renewed in 2002.

View a complete list of education laws up for renewal.

Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act - governs vocational education programs and is the largest federal program for high schools
Last renewed in 2006
Child Care and Development Block Grant Act - Governs major child-care grants
Last renewed in 1996
Education Sciences Reform Act – Governs the Institute of Educations Sciences
Last renewed in 2002
Elementary and Secondary Education Act - Governs Title I and other key K-12 education programs; most recent version is the No Child Left Behind Act
Last renewed in 2002
Head Start Act - Governs the program that offers early childhood education services to low-income families
Last renewed in 2007
Higher Education Act - Governs teacher education programs, as well as student financial aid and college access programs
Last renewed in 2008
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - Governs special education programs
Last renewed in 2004
Workforce Investment Act - Governs job training programs
Last renewed in 1998


Congress finally reaches budget deal
In December, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate reached a bipartisan agreement to set spending levels for the current, FY14 fiscal year. Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, led their respective houses through the negotiation. RRCNA was one of 64 national organizations that signed a letter to congressional leadership in support of maintaining the only birth-to-Grade 12 funding stream for literacy instruction in the education budget.

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Federal funding for most schools, previously reduced through the 5% across-the-board cuts imposed by sequestration last March, will be largely restored. Schools will feel the impact beginning this fall. Title I grants for districts and special education state grants will be slightly increased, though neither program will be restored to pre-sequestration levels. This may provide some relief to recent class size increases, limits on professional development, and other cutbacks.

Previously funded at $164 million, the final deal provides $158 million for a comprehensive literacy program to advance literacy skills—pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing—for students from birth through Grade 12, including limited-English-proficient students and students with disabilities. At least 15% of the funds are for children from birth through age 5, 40% will be used to serve students in kindergarten through Grade 5, and 40% are for students in middle and high school. The remaining 5% supports state education agencies’ efforts to implement the program.


Advocates for Literacy calls for literacy funding in FY2014 budget
The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Program is the main federal program to improve literacy achievement essential for a thriving U.S. economy.  The Reading Recovery Council, a member of Advocates for Literacy, signed on to a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget calling for level funding of SRCL ($159 million) in the FY2014 budget. Advocates for Literacy is a coalition of more than 70 national organizations dedicated to the development of comprehensive literacy strategies at the state and federal levels.

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The letter cited that in order for the United States to compete in a global knowledge-based economy, young people must graduate with the advanced reading and writing skills required for career and college success. Two-thirds of all new jobs will require some type of postsecondary training.  Currently, the manufacturing sector reports over 600,000 jobs in the U.S. go unfilled because applicants do not possess necessary literacy skills.  Other sectors report that they would relocate new jobs in the United States if the U.S. had the requisite highly skilled workforce.  

The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program takes a comprehensive approach. It supports literacy development and instruction from birth through Grade 12—from beginning letter recognition to the ability to infer and comprehend complex text—to ensure that all students can read and write at grade level.

SRCL provides resources to states and local schools to build educators’ knowledge and skills in providing literacy instruction and support for each grade level and in each content area.  The six states that have current Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grants are building integrated systems of effective literacy instruction that include both core and advanced literacy skills which all students will need to succeed in college and the workplace.

Reading Recovery plays vital role in meeting Common Core Standards
As the vast majority of states move forward with adopting Common Core State Standards, RRCNA has published a description of how Reading Recovery plays a vital role to ensure that first graders who struggle with literacy learning can meet grade-level standards and benefit from instruction at every subsequent grade level.

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Many states are moving forward with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. These Standards define knowledge and skills students need during their K-12 school years in order to be college and career ready at the end of high school. Although the Standards do not define specific methods or programs, an effective early intervention is critical for students already struggling with literacy learning.

Free resources answer questions for teachers and administrators

Reading Recovery is a research- and evidence-based first-grade reading intervention that brings the majority of students with a complete intervention to grade-level performance within 12 to 20 weeks of daily 30-minute lessons. By helping struggling readers quickly catch up with their peers in Grade 1, Reading Recovery plays a vital role in ensuring that students can benefit from instruction at every subsequent grade level.

Read the Common Core State Standards and find out which states have adopted the standards.


Literacy grants to be awarded in six states thanks to Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program
Plans are underway in Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas to award federal literacy funds to local education agencies (LEAs). These states were the winners of a $180 million competition designed to advance literacy skills for children from birth through Grade 12. The federal definition of eligible services includes “targeted interventions for students reading below grade level.” If you are in one of the six states, contact your state department of education about opportunities to secure funds to support Reading Recovery.

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For the past 3 years, the Reading Recovery Council of North America has been part of a coalition of 40 national education organizations that advocated for increased resources to support literacy for children from birth through Grade 12. The coalition has been instrumental in the development of the Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act and the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program (SRCL).

Funding for the Striving Readers Program was first appropriated in FY 2010 and provided $200 million for a comprehensive literacy development and education program. In 2012, $159 million was appropriated to continue these efforts. In October 2010, formula grants were awarded to State Education Agencies to create State Literacy Teams that would develop a comprehensive plan. The remainder of the FY 10 funds, $180 million, was open to a competition for all states. Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas were winners of the competition. These states will use 95% of their award to make subgrants to LEAs. Contact your state education agency to learn more about timelines and possibilities.

900 organizations join to urge highest budget allocations
RRCNA has joined a coalition of 900 organizations urging congressional leadership to provdie the largest possible budget allocations to the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and related agenciess for FY2013. The coalition believes that rebuilding the U.S. investment in these domestic programs will boost the economy and reduce the deficit through prevention of costly chronic diseases, increased earnings, and reduced expenditures for unemployment and other social service programs.