Earlier today, the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education released the Next Generation MCAS scores. Stand in partnerships with Rep. Day and Sen. Boncore released the following press release.
NEXT-GENERATION MCAS RESULTS UNDERSCORE NEED TO ADDRESS STATE’S LITERACY CRISIS
The next-generation Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) results, particularly for reading fluency and reading comprehension, underscores the failure to address the crisis in literacy facing low-income schools and students across Massachusetts.
“Students cannot succeed if they cannot read, and these declining scores in our highest-needs cities comes as no surprise to anyone concerned about the continuing failure of children to read in low-income communities,” said Ranjini Govender, Executive Director of Stand for Children Massachusetts. “We would not stand for 80 percent of third graders not being able to read at grade-level in our wealthier districts, and we should not stand for it at all. That’s why it’s so critical we pass the Early Literacy Act to help struggling students.”
Declining scores are a symptom of a more serious problem— the lifelong consequences that occur for students who can’t read at grade-level by third grade. Studies show that as these students begin falling behind their peers, they are far more likely to drop out of school and face issues including higher rates of incarceration and substance abuse.
Stand for Children Massachusetts has launched the Every Child Reads campaign to tackle poor literacy rates in low-income communities. The first step to addressing the problem is the Early Literacy Act legislation, filed by Sen. Joseph Boncore, D-Winthrop, and Rep. Michael Day, D-Stoneham.
The Early Literacy Act offers a research-based approach that directs resources to teach students to read before they fall too far behind. The bill enables the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Early Education and Care to establish new early literacy grant programs to improve literacy rates among Massachusetts students in grades K-5, with a particular focus on high-needs districts. Funding is awarded to districts for schools serving grades K-5, on a per-pupil basis, giving priority to districts with more low-income students.