Baker passes bill to add reading specialists to elementary schools

Ponca City Now - March 5, 2020 1:35 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon) on Thursday passed a bill in the House that would require the State Department of Education to employ a team of reading specialists to support Oklahoma public elementary schools in implementing the requirements of the Reading Sufficiency Act.

House Bill 3446 would fund the literary specialists and professional development for teachers through current RSA appropriations. The measure passed the House with a vote of 89-0.

“Reading is the foundational skill for all other learning,” Baker said. “Yet many of our teachers are not taught the fundamentals of teaching reading or the science of how students learn to read. Our State Department of Education previously employed reading specialists to help our early childhood and elementary school teachers. They proved enormously successful, and many of our elementary school students were caught up to grade-level reading. This is our overall goal.”

HB 3446 requires the SDE to retain no less than 10% of the funds appropriated for the RSA to employ a team of literary specialists to support districts in implementing the RSA requirements. The measure also requires school districts receiving more than $2,500 in funds appropriated for the RSA to spend no less than 10% of those funds on professional development for teachers teaching pre-K through fifth grade. The professional development shall include training in the science of how students learn to read.

HB 3446 is co-authored in the House by Majority Leader Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher), and state Reps. Chelsey Branham (D-Oklahoma City), Chad Caldwell (R-Enid) and Brian Hill (R-Mustang).

The measure now moves to the State Senate where it is authored by Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa).


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