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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1378         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1853

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Martha M. Walz

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to third grade reading proficiency.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk

William N. Brownsberger

 

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Linda Dorcena Forry

12th Suffolk

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

Carlo Basile

1st Suffolk

Stephen R. Canessa

12th Bristol

Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera

10th Hampden

Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex

Sean Curran

9th Hampden

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

James B. Eldridge

 

Susan C. Fargo

 

John V. Fernandes

10th Worcester

John P. Fresolo

16th Worcester

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Patricia A. Haddad

5th Bristol

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Louis L. Kafka

8th Norfolk

Michael F. Kane

5th Hampden

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Jason M. Lewis

31st Middlesex

James M. Murphy

4th Norfolk

Kevin J. Murphy

18th Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr.

12th Hampden

John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire

Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden

Walter F. Timilty

7th Norfolk

Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex

Martin J. Walsh

13th Suffolk

Thomas M. Petrolati

7th Hampden

Alice K. Wolf

25th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1378        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1853

By Ms. Walz of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1853) of Martha M. Walz and others for legislation to establish an early reading council for the development of literacy of students in the third grades of the public schools in the Commonwealth.  Education. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

_______________

 

An Act relative to third grade reading proficiency.
 

              Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to improve third grade reading proficiency, therefore, it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. (a) There is hereby established the Massachusetts early reading council to enhance children’s language and literacy development with the goal of achieving reading proficiency and higher levels of learning for all students by the end of third grade, including, but not limited to, those eligible for free or reduced cost lunches, early intervention or individualized education plans, English-language learners, and advanced learners, to consist of 17 members: the secretary of education who shall serve as co-chair; a recognized expert in children’s language and literacy development, to be appointed by the Massachusetts governor, who shall serve as co-chair; the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on education or their designees; 2 persons to be appointed by the commissioner of the department of early education and care, 1 of whom shall be a member of the department of early education and care’s parent advisory committee and 1 of whom shall be a representative from a licensed early education and care program; an early childhood educator to be appointed by the Massachusetts Head Start Association; an expert in children’s language and literacy development to be appointed by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education; a superintendent of a local education agency to be appointed by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; a principal of a public school to be appointed by the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association; a sitting school committee member to be appointed by the Massachusetts School Committee Association; a pre-kindergarten to third grade teacher with reading expertise to be appointed by the American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts; a pre-kindergarten to third grade teacher with reading expertise to be appointed by the Massachusetts Teachers Association; a mayor to be appointed by the Massachusetts Mayors’ Association; a pediatrician to be appointed by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; a representative of the Massachusetts Reading Association; and a representative of Strategies for Children.

              (b) Council members shall each be appointed for a term of 3 years. No member shall serve for more than 2 consecutive terms. The council shall meet no less than 4 times annually. The secretary of education shall appoint personnel necessary to coordinate the activities of the council and provide administrative support to the council, as requested.

              (c) The council shall: (1) advise the secretary of education, the commissioner of the department of early education and care, the commissioner of the department of elementary and secondary education, and other appropriate public agencies on the development, implementation and oversight of programs and services intended to support young children’s language and literacy development from birth through third grade, including, but not limited to, family engagement and home-visiting programs, high-quality infant and toddler programs, high-quality pre-kindergarten, high-quality full-day kindergarten, and pre-kindergarten to grade 3 alignment of curriculum and instruction; (2) help facilitate interagency collaboration and communication to improve alignment across diverse educational settings and levels; (3) review the annual plans and the proposed annual budgets of the department of early education and care and the department of elementary and secondary education, and make recommendations to the commissioners in regard thereto; (4) make recommendations regarding any legislation and regulations that would affect children’s language and literacy development in light of the goal of the council; and (5) cultivate public-private partnerships and encourage sharing of best practices between schools and community-based organizations, particularly early education and care and afterschool programs.

              SECTION 2. The council shall develop recommendations and benchmarks for measuring progress by the department of elementary and secondary education and the department of early education and care, including, but not limited to, each of the following areas: (a) Professional development and instructional leadership in reading and English language arts, consistent with the principles that effective professional development: (1) is data driven, collaborative and sustained over time; (2) occurs in collaborative professional cultures that support ongoing improvement; (3) includes quality standards for identifying appropriate professional development offerings; (4) is provided within a rigorous accountability system to evaluate the qualifications of professional development providers and the effectiveness of trainings; and (5) is provided in diverse settings, including online communities, and through diverse methods to address the needs of all educators.

              (b) Curriculum guidelines for districts, schools, and licensed early education and care programs, to support best practices and encourage improved alignment across educational settings and levels, acknowledging that recommended curricula should: (1) draw on evidence demonstrating effectiveness in improving children’s learning and emphasize integrated learning experiences that address phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension; (2) promote developmentally appropriate educational practices including play to accommodate young children’s learning styles; (3) provide additional guidance on best practices to meet the learning needs of children eligible for early intervention and individualized education plans, English language learners, and children otherwise deemed at risk of falling below age appropriate benchmarks for language and literacy development; (4) include strategies for incorporating reading and writing standards from the Massachusetts curriculum framework for English language arts and literacy into other subjects; and (5) provide guidance to early education and care providers on the use of curricula, materials, and instructional techniques for programs serving children prior to school entry.

              (c) An assessment system to monitor and report on children’s progress toward achieving benchmarks in language and literacy development prior to grade three across educational levels and program settings to include, in collaboration with the department of early education and care and the department of elementary and secondary education, exploring the establishment of state approved assessment tools for measuring school readiness and children’s reading proficiency from pre-kindergarten to grade three.

              (d) Birth to age five school readiness plans to be developed by districts and schools, in partnership with community members and organizations, and including literacy plans for entering students and their families.

              (e) Family engagement strategies for improving communication and interactions between families and educational settings frequented by children, including guidance on the following: (1) community outreach and family education on children’s language and literacy development; (2) home visiting programs to support daytime learning and prioritize daily family conversation and family reading time; (3) professional development to help educators and instructional leaders communicate with native and non-native English speaking parents; (4) book reading and storytelling as healthy alternatives to television watching; and (5) events at libraries and other appropriate venues to promote literacy prior to school entry and throughout elementary school.

              The council shall prepare and submit an annual progress report concerning its activities, with appropriate recommendations regarding children’s language and literacy development, to the governor and the clerks of the senate and the house who shall forward the same to the chairs of the joint committee on education and the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before December 31.

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