The below statements of support were issued by state and local education leaders in response to Senate Bill 387, the Excellent Public Schools Act, which Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law Friday afternoon. With near unanimous support in both chambers of the General Assembly, SB 387 allows for the science of reading to guide the teaching of how children learn to read. The framework of this legislation, which includes the science of reading and an emphasis on teacher instruction and preparation, is supported by years of work from the State Board of Education, the UNC System, the Department of Public Instruction, and education leaders and partners across the state.
Echoed throughout the leaders’ comments below, is their support of the science of reading, which research has shown to be highly effective in developing in students’ reading proficiency through high-quality, evidence-based instructional methods.
SB 387 provides a comprehensive plan for turning years of recommendations, across education partners and groups, into practice. This legislation equips teachers to support students through research-based methods of early literacy instruction.
Jill Camnitz, State Board of Education Member and Chair of the Student Learning and Achievement Committee:
“In the spring of 2019, in response to reading proficiency scores that were not improving, the State Board went to work. The board adopted a nine-point framework for improving early literacy. DPI was charged with developing action steps for each of the priorities. In addition, a Literacy Task Force was formed and tasked with making recommendations for modifications to educator preparation and licensure to support the improvement of K-3 reading instruction. … During the past two years, we have learned from states that are seeing strong reading growth where instruction is guided by the science of reading. We know from them that to be successful, there must be close alignment between the three branches of government, along with support from education partners, philanthropy, and the business community. It is our strength that this alignment exists in North Carolina. We appreciate the work of the General Assembly for its recent legislation which supports our work, unifying our approach to address the reading needs of our students through the science of reading.”
Kim Morrison—Superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools:
“We are supportive of Senate Bill 387 and the science of reading approach to provide research-based strategies in the hands of capable educators to close the gap. We believe that Pre-K through 3rd grade is a critical time in the education of a child and know that every individual child must be supported through proven interventions. If there has ever been a time, we must come together to support literacy for all children. That time is now!”
Joint Statement, Ann Clark and Crystal Hill:
Ann Clark—Former Co-Chair of the State Board of Education Literacy Task Force:
Crystal Hill – Former Co-Chair of the State Board of Education Literacy Task Force, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in Cabarrus County:
“We were privileged to lead a team of amazing higher education and K-12 educators to advance literacy recommendations to the North Carolina State Board of Education in the areas of professional development, curriculum and instruction resources, and pre-service preparation and licensure. SB 387 reflects some of the recommendations from the North Carolina State Board of Education Literacy Task Force and will position students to be on the path to developing a strong reading foundation.”
Eric Davis, State Board of Education Chairman:
“As we shift from past approaches that emphasized helping struggling readers to one that addresses the underlying cause of low rates of reading proficiency for many students, we must ensure we have a comprehensive plan to translate policy into practice. And in doing so requires comprehensive planning to ensure the appropriate parties are included, and heard, to change the system of literacy support across our state. I join with State Board colleagues in expressing our appreciation to the three branches of government for offering their support and for working together with a common vision to address this compelling need for our students.”
Catherine Truitt, North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction:
“Data tells us that teaching a child to learn how to read prior to third grade is the number one indicator of success throughout the rest of that child’s life. That is why SB 387 is so critical – it’s how we do our part to set our children up for long-term success, regardless of the path they choose or career they pursue. This legislation provides the foundation to train educators and administrators in science-backed methods of literacy instruction, ensuring that our educators are well-equipped and our students are well-supported. The Department of Public Instruction, alongside the State Board of Education, is thrilled to be a partner in helping cement the work that countless others have spent years refining and recommending. Today is truly a great day for our students in public education.”