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Bill to Help Struggling Readers Passes Senate Committee

Stand for Children Arizona Government Affairs Director Stacey Morley testifies to the Arizona Senate Education Committee. You can watch the full testimony here.

Bill overcomes big hurdle, but what’s next?

Along with advocating tirelessly to help English Language Learners, we’ve also been working on a bill to make sure every student is able to read by the end of third grade. It’s no secret: students learn to read in K-3 and then afterwards learn by reading. If a student misses this critical milestone, they are four times more likely to dropout of high school. It’s just one of the reasons why early literacy is so important.

Last Thursday, we overcame a big hurdle in the legislative process and are a step closer to helping struggling readers by passing HB 2520 out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously. The bill is now headed toward the Senate floor.

How will this bill help struggling readers?

Right now, 56% of third-graders cannot read proficiently in Arizona. While we’ve seen some improvement in the last couple of years, we can do better.

HB 2520 continues this trend of improving existing reading policies by:
  • Requiring those seeking a K-8 teaching certificate to complete 3 credit hours of reading instruction.
  • Updating the way students are taught based on the latest research.
  • Strengthening accountability on how literacy funding is spent.

Quotes from the Capitol

"I've always felt that it was just too late at the third-grade level to all of a sudden say they're not reading proficiently. We have lost than two full grades prior to that. Your bill is allowing the parents, allowing the instructors right off the bat at every grade level prior to third-grade to know where they are at. I think this is a great bill."
Senator Kimberly Yee on HB 2520

"This bill requires schools to provide detailed descriptions of how the monies will increase reading proficiency. That way we can check to see if they are actually doing what was intended."
Rep. Doug Coleman, Sponsor of HB 2520

Where is the ELL bill?

We are still closely monitoring the HB 2435 since it passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee. The bill should be up for a vote on the Senate floor. We are continuing to talk with Arizona State Senators about the importance of helping our ELL students who are struggling to learn English.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s In The Trenches. We’re really excited about the Early Literacy bill passing unanimously earlier this week. We will keep you posted about any further developments. Please, if you have any questions let us know.

Warmly, Rebecca, Stacey, Luis, Martin, Melissa, Liliana and Mia
The Stand for Children Arizona Team

In order to fulfill our mission, Stand for Children, Inc., our 501(c)4 organization, performs all advocacy and lobbying activities while the Stand for Children Leadership Center, our 501(c)3 organization, manages our parent and family education and engagement programs as well as Stand’s public awareness campaigns.
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