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December 15, 2017 Policy Brief

Our policy brief will feature Stand’s critical policy priorities for 2018 for one more week before returning to regular content in the new year. Our goal is to ensure every kid in Washington graduates from high school career or college ready.

December 1: Academic Acceleration
December 8: Early Warning Systems
December 15: Early Literacy
December 22: 2017 highlights 

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • January 8: First day of 2018 Legislative Session
  • February 2: Policy Committee Bill Cut-Off
  • February 6: Fiscal Committee Bill Cut-Off
  • February 14: House of Origin Cut-Off

Policy Priority #3 – Early Literacy

Early Literacy is shorthand for identifying and intervening with all students who are behind grade level, regardless of income. It also means allocating financial resources to the most effective evidence-based K-4 literacy programs. To support students throughout their lifetimes, we have to start young. During fourth grade, the school curriculum shifts, requiring students to “read to learn,” which causes students who have not yet “learned to read” to fall further and further behind. 

Stand is advocating for the implementation of only the most effective tools and programs that will make a measurable difference in student outcomes and to streamline how districts identify students who need the most support. Schools and parents should have the resources they need to create a safe and supportive learning environment for their child.

Key Numbers 

  • In 2017, a scant 52.6% of Washington third-graders met the standard (grade level) for English language arts/literacy on the Smarter Balanced assessment.
  • Students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers.
  • A student who is low income and can’t read at grade level by the end of third grade is 13 times less likely to graduate from high school with their peers.

Social Media Chatter

@UWCollegeofEd: #Literacy builds life skills as well as language skills, @UW study shows: http://ow.ly/5hSp30fVatV  via @nytimeswell #EdResearch #WAedu

What We're Reading

Latest scorecard shows Seattle schools equity problems persist – Seattle Times
“While graduation rates are up overall and more kids are taking college-level courses, according to the district’s 2016-17 Scorecard, gulfs in achievement between white students and the historically underserved (black, Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander) stretch as wide — or wider — than ever… By third grade, according to the district’s report, there was virtually no change in reading results compared with three years ago — for students of any type — so the skills gap that existed then is still nearly 39 percentage points between white children and others.”

Early Grades Crucial in Path to Reading Proficiency – Education Week
“Donald J. Hernandez, a sociology professor at Hunter College, at the City University of New York, studied nearly 4,000 students born between 1979 and 1989. Sixteen percent of them overall did not have a diploma by age 19, but students who struggled with reading in early-elementary school made up 88 percent of those who did not receive a diploma. A combination of poverty and low reading skills made a student 13 times less likely to graduate by age 19.” 

Thank you for reading our summary. Please share any questions or feedback you may have with Katie Gustainis, kgustainis@stand.org.

We look forward to hearing from you.


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