The Iowa Department of Education is asking for nearly $14 million to cover the costs of a new state program to make sure kids can read by third grade. Education Department director, Brad Buck, says the program begins with schools keeping an eye on this year’s first graders who might be struggling.
“Through that early warning system we’re letting first grade parents and kindergarten parents know that their child isn’t where they ought to be in reading and then we’re delivering services to those kids,” Buck says. Buck says the idea is to intervene now before those first graders reach third grade. “One component of implementation of that particular law is, if a child is still substantially deficient at the end of third grade one of the considerations is a high-quality summer program,” Buck says.
If the student doesn’t enter a summer program to catch upon their reading skills, they can be held back. That $14 million the department is requesting would cover designing the summer programs, as well as the early warning system that lets parents know if their kids are struggling.