Students would be screened for literacy skills at least three times each school year in kindergarten through second-grade, under a bill headed to the governor’s desk.
On the Assembly floor Tuesday, Racine Republican Robert Wittke explained the stark realities the bill hopes to address.
“Six-hundred thousand children in this state cannot read to grade level. We have the worst racial achievement gaps in the country,” Wittke said
Representative Don Vruwink of Milton, a retired educator, was critical. “It seems to me here in the Assembly we have continually slapped a band-aid and said ‘this is going to fix the problem.’”
Democrat and educator LaKeshia Myers of Milwaukee supports the Republican authored measure. “I’m tired of the same data, reporting the same thing year after year. It’s time for us to stop making excuses and actually do something,” Myers said. “I don’t care who introduced this bill, whether it was a Republican, whether it was a Democrat, whether it was Jesus himself, I will still go along with this bill.”
Democrats also said it doesn’t make sense to screen every student, and that the bill lacks a long term funding source. The bill is opposed by several groups representing school districts, and it’s not clear whether Governor Tony Evers will sign it.