The last few years have proven that the Read to Achieve initiative championed by Phil Berger has failed to do what it was promoted to do.
Kris Nordstrom summed it up best from a report in January of 2019.
In October, researchers from NC State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation helped to confirm what many educational advocates have long claimed: North Carolina’s Read to Achieve program is a failure. This week’s State Board of Education meeting included a presentation on the evaluation, which served as an important wake-up call to North Carolina’s policymakers. However the evaluation – while rigorous and well-written – leaves many important questions unanswered.
The Read to Achieve program, created by the 2012 budget bill, is an effort to improve early-grades’ reading proficiency by refusing to promote students who fail the state’s third grade reading test. Read to Achieve was based on a similar initiative from Florida and was championed by Senator Phil Berger.
Based on one similar to Florida? Yep. A Jeb Bush model.
The General Assembly passed Read to Achieve legislation in 2012. It was modeled on literacy efforts in other states, including the “Just Read, Florida!” program created by former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2001.
But that’s not the only “reform” we borrowed from Florida and then disgustingly made our own. For those who are unaware, former FL Gov. Jeb Bush is the overall architect and champion of a school performance grading system that NC models its program after. Those school performance grades are central to the school report card system.
And those school performance grades are helping advance a politically partisan effort to privatize the North Carolina public school system that is fully endorsed by Berger and enabled by Catherine Truitt’s administration at DPI.
Now Florida is doing more to erode public education and one would hope that North Carolina doesn’t follow suit as it has with other initiatives in the past, but with people like Phil Berger still in power and a self-proclaimed “witch hunter” like Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson in office, there is no guarantee this will not happen here.
The report includes this picture:
Pretty extreme if you ask this English teacher and public school parent.
Empty bookshelves as a way to “err on the side of caution?” Reminds me of incidents in the past when books were removed from schools as a means to control what students came into contact with.
This “purification” effort breeds other extremist policies like Florida’s now famous “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
And other ideas such as:
Feels like living in the world that is described in this Booker Prize award-winning novel by a woman who should be considered for a Nobel Prize in Literature:
But it has probably been removed from shelves in Florida’s public schools.