Governor Laura Kelly Signs Senate Bill 438: A $10M Commitment to Boost Literacy in Kansas

By Trish Svoboda

On April 24, Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 438 into law, establishing the Kansas Blueprint for Literacy, creating a Literacy Advisory Committee, and directing the Kansas Board of Regents to appoint a Director of Literacy Education.

The Blueprint aims to transform reading instruction by focusing on research-backed areas like phonemic awareness, phonetics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The bill highlights a comprehensive approach to retrain Kansas educators in scientific reading methods, structured literacy, and literacy screening and assessment tools.

Recognizing literacy’s role in maintaining Kansas’ economic growth and developing a workforce that meets business and industry needs, the bill provides an additional $10 million to the Board of Regents to implement the Blueprint. This funding will cover the costs of retraining teachers in effective reading instruction methods and preparing them to receive a Science of Reading micro-credential.

The bill also mandates the establishment of six regional Centers for Excellence in Reading, operated in collaboration with the Board of Regents and state universities. These centers will assess and diagnose reading difficulties, train educators using simulation labs, and support the professional development of school-based instructional coaches.

In addition, the bill requires the Board of Regents to establish a Literacy Advisory Committee and hire a Director of Literacy Education. The committee, consisting of 15 voting and two non-voting members serving four-year terms, will monitor literacy training progress and identify best practices for teachers. The Director will oversee the implementation and administration of the Blueprint, ensuring progress in these initiatives.

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