On Tuesday, as reported by WisPolitics.com, the Assembly Committee on Education held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 446 relating to reading readiness assessments. The bill would require additional literacy screenings for children in kindergarten to second grade. "Reading right now in Wisconsin is an absolute crisis," said the bill's author, Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay). "There's absolutely no reason for us to be optimistic that it's going to get any better. It's going to get worse. There's no time to waste on this." The measure also would require school boards and independent charter schools to create a personal reading plan for each student in kindergarten to second grade who scores below the 25th percentile based on a screening assessment. Current law requires school boards and independent charter schools to intervene or provide remedial reading services if students in kindergarten to second grade are determined to be "at risk" of reading difficulty based on the mandated annual reading readiness assessment, but does not define "at risk." Wisconsin Association of School Boards Director of Member Services Ben Niehaus said the bill is well-intended, but that association members want clarity on how the proposed new testing requirements would be funded. He also questioned how the bill would improve literacy and provide educators with necessary tools for reading intervention.

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