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Educators seek funding, training to help implement READ Act

(House Photography file photo)
(House Photography file photo)

A 2023 law is transforming the way reading is taught in Minnesota schools, but teachers need time, resources and funding to complete their training and implementation of the act.

“Our teachers are breaking, and they need support to be able to do this right, and so that we can do what’s right for the students of Minnesota,” Justin Killian, an issues specialist at Education Minnesota, told the House Education Finance Committee Tuesday.

Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina) sponsors HF3744 that, as amended, would provide $100 million in fiscal year 2025 for the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act.

Education committee hears HF3744, bill to appropriate $100 million to help implement READ Act 3/19/24

The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in an education finance bill.

“This is one of those pieces of legislation that everybody is behind because we want to do right by our schools, we want to do right by our teachers and we want our kids to feel successful,” Edelson said.

Killian is thrilled the state would invest so much in helping close the reading gap between students of color and white students, but teachers still need the time for training.

“The Journal for Occupation Safety just found that 59% of teachers do not have time to go to the bathroom during the contract day,” said Killian. “So if our teachers are struggling at the level that they don’t have time to go to the restroom, I don’t know when we’re expecting them to do this intense, rigorous training with fidelity.”

The appropriation would include:

  • $23 million for teacher training stipends and to pay substitute teachers while regular teachers are training;
  • $10 million for regional literacy networks to provide teachers evidence-based training on structured literacy;
  • $5.2 million to contract with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement to implement the READ Act and develop volunteer training; and
  • $3 million to reimburse districts for supporting materials.

“We hear from schools … talking about how important this is, and I’ve heard from administrators over and over and over. They get it and they want to support it. Let’s get behind the READ Act … and let’s help our kids,” said Rep. Ron Kresha (R-Little Falls).

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