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Education committees pass reading readiness bills

Improving your child’s literacy levels took another positive step this week after both the Assembly and Senate Committees on Education passed a bill addressing it. Assembly Bill 446 and Senate Bill 454 both address the number of times students are screened for reading difficulties with hopes of catching challenges like dyslexia faster. With Rep. Joel Kitchens as one of its sponsors, the bill passed the Assembly committee by a 10-4 vote. He said after the vote that “we have to do something differently and if we don’t identify the problem, we can’t solve the problem.”  Senator Andre Jacque sponsored the Senate version that passed on a 4-3 vote. One of the biggest advocates for the bill was Baileys Harbor’s Kari Baumann. She traveled to Madison twice to testify in favor of AB 446 and SB 454 as she shared her son’s own struggle with reading because of dyslexia. She told last month what the bills mean to her.

The two bills can now be scheduled for votes in their respective chambers. The bill passage comes as the USA Today Network- Wisconsin reported earlier this week about latest standardized tests taken by students in the state. Fewer students participated than they did prior to the pandemic and the ones that did fared worse. On the Forward exam given to students in third through eighth grades, the percentage of students who were rated as proficient or better scored anywhere from three (social studies) to 12 percent (math) worse than they did in the year prior to the pandemic.

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