Governor’s scaled back reading plan clears legislature

DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds is applauding passage of a bill she says will help struggling students become better readers. The bill requires a focus on the science of reading and spells out what is standard practice in most schools. Teachers must develop a plan to improve the reading ability of any student in kindergarten through sixth grade who is not reading at their grade level.

Senator Ken Rozenboom of Oskaloosa says schools are required to notify parents if their child isn’t reading well and let the student repeat a grade. “To make sure we’re clear, retention is not required unless requested by the parent or guardian,” Rozenboom said.

Reynolds also had hoped to require that teachers pass a test showing they have the skills to teach elementary students how to read. The bill will only require Iowa college students who plan to teach in kindergarten through sixth grade take the test, but they won’t have to pass it to graduate. “It requires that teacher prep programs must administer the ‘Foundations of Reading Assessment’ and report to the Department of Education annually on the percentage of students who score above, at or below the passing score,” Rozenboom says.

Thirteen other states include the test as a requirement for teaching licenses.