Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced her major literacy bill, the Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation, or the LEARN Act. This bill will provide schools and states with the resources they need to make sure that children from birth to grade twelve have the reading and writing skills necessary for success in school and beyond. Cosponsoring Senator Murray's legislation are Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
"Literacy education is the foundation for all education," Senator Murray said. "Children in every state deserve to have access to high quality literacy education that will give them the reading and writing skills they need to succeed in school, in their future careers, and in life. As we work to reauthorize and improve No Child Left Behind, I am going to fight to make sure literacy education gets the support it deserves."
The LEARN Act would make a significant investment in literacy education across the country. In Washington state, for example, the federal literacy funding would go from $6 million last school year, to an estimated $34 million under the LEARN Act.
Specifically, the LEARN Act will:
*Provide federal support for literacy programs, in partnership with states, local school districts by establishing funding for existing and new state and local school-based literacy programs and by requiring a rigorous national evaluation that includes stringent conflict of interest restrictions for the program's peer review process.
*Enhance the role of states in improving literacy instruction by supporting state literacy leadership teams comprised of literacy experts and relevant stakeholders tasked with developing a comprehensive state literacy plans that build upon promising practices already being implemented in many states.
*Support the creation of high-quality literacy programs by targeting funding to low-income schools and schools with low literacy levels through a competitive grant program, providing professional development for instructional staff so that they may provide high-quality literacy instruction to children and students, and ensuring that schools provide additional supports to address the specific learning needs of struggling readers and writers, including English language learners and students with disabilities.