In Reading Grants Over Next Six Years
September 18, 2003
The Department Wednesday awarded the first $2.1 million of the money to fund the State's Reading First program - a key element of the No Child Left Behind education reform act that went into effect last year.
According to a news release from Murkowski's office, Senator Murkowski was notified Wednesday morning by Secretary of Education Rod Paige that he is providing the state enough funds for Alaska to make $1.7 million of grants to 14 schools next spring. The remaining money will be used by the State to fund its professional development plan. That plan includes holding three Beginning Reading Institutes for all K-3 teachers, instructional specialists, paraprofessionals and school principals statewide. The Institutes will provide initial and follow-up training for state teachers.
"Reading skills are fundamental to promote educational achievement. That is why Congress this year is considering providing $1.15 billion to fund the Reading First program nationwide. Anything we can do to help children read better and sooner is money well spent," said Senator Murkowski.
She noted that the state will be responsible for picking which districts and schools get the additional reading funding, but that federal law suggests that the sub-grants go to districts on the basis of local poverty levels and reading achievement scores. The money will go to schools to help them diagnose and address reading difficulties early, base instruction on what works, give teachers additional training and constantly assess progress in improving reading.
"As I found from reading to my own sons, a love of reading and the ability to read well is the gateway to all academic achievement. That is why I'm so happy that the Department has moved quickly to give Alaska additional funding to support improved reading programs statewide," said Murkowski.
In June the Bush Administration approved the initial state "accountability" compliance plan for how Alaska will meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act following a May visit by Secretary Paige to Alaska.
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