Delay of Alabama Literacy Act will effect students

Published 11:46 am Monday, March 14, 2022

By PAUL DEMARCO | Guest Columnist

This past week the Alabama Senate passed a bill delaying the implementation of a major portion the Alabama Literacy Act. It is expected The Alabama House of Representatives will follow along and send this bill to the Governor for her signature.

The Act requires third graders to read at their grade level or they must repeat that year.

The push to pass this legislation by some Alabama educators and politicians is due to concerns about the number of third graders that could be held back based on recent test scores. There have been reports that it could mean up to a quarter of these students would not meet the reading requirements.

There is no question that the pandemic had an effect on some students’ ability to learn to read, with some schools that were closed forcing students to depend on virtual learning. This is a serious issue that must be addressed. There are millions of federal, state and local dollars that have been spent to assist students with reading. Every child in this state must be provided with the full resources so that they have the opportunity to achieve at the highest levels.

The question for lawmakers is how a delay in the literacy act benefits students who are promoted to the fourth grade if they are not academically proficient to read.

The long-term effects of this legislation, if it passes will do more harm to students than spending another year preparing for their future by improving their reading skills. Alabama already trails the nation in education and reading skills.

Alabama has had enough scholastic woes through the years, but it appears Alabama lawmakers are about to make it worse.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.