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Hochul Celebrates Program to Improve Reading Proficiency


Governor Kathy Hochul took time late last week to celebrate her ‘Back to Basics’ legislation signed into law as a part of the FY 2025 Enacted Budget. The Governor highlighted this crucial initiative at the Albany School of Humanities on Friday where she visited a first-grade class using instructional best practices grounded in the Science of Reading. Governor Hochul’s ‘Back to Basics’ plan ensures every New York classroom uses this type of evidence-based instruction to improve reading proficiency rates in New York State.

The ability to read by third grade is an important indicator of a student’s future success. Students who do not achieve proficiency by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school, with dropout rates even more pronounced for students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, failure to ensure reading proficiency at an early age has a cascading effect, potentially derailing a student’s academic trajectory, and impacting future earning potential, health, and wellbeing. Recognizing the urgent need to improve reading proficiency and ensure student success, more than 30 states have transitioned to a ‘Back to Basics’ approach.   

Governor Hochul’s ‘Back to Basics’ reading plan ensures every school district utilizes instructional best practices grounded in the science of reading to improve reading proficiency among New York’s children. The State Education Department (SED) will provide instructional best practices to school districts in the teaching of reading to students in prekindergarten through grade three by January 1, 2025. School districts will be required to annually review their curriculum and instructional practices for alignment with those issued by SED, and verify by September 2025.  

The Budget also includes $10 million to train 20,000 teachers in these instructional best practices through NYSUT’s Education and Learning Trust. Additionally, the Budget expands the State University of New York and the City University of New York’s micro-credentialing programs for teachers focused on the science of reading to ensure current and future teachers seeking advanced education are best prepared.

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