January 03, 2024

NYSUT joins with the state on Science of Reading initiative

Source:  NYSUT Communications
melinda person at watervliet event


NYSUT President Melinda Person joined Governor Kathy Hochul as she announced an initiative to support the use of evidence-based best practices in schools throughout New York.

To transition New York to reading instruction that teaches students the foundational skills they need to become proficient readers, Gov. Hochul will introduce legislation that ensures evidence-based best practices are used throughout New York. The governor will be proposing $10 million in state investments to provide professional learning for 20,000 teachers in the Science of Reading instructional best practices and an expansion of SUNY and CUNY’s programs for teachers focused on this topic.

Following are President Melinda Person's prepared remarks.

"I am excited to be here with the governor to share another step forward in making sure our students are ready for the future. I want to again thank her for working with us last year to fully fund Foundation Aid. That significant investment marked a milestone in our mission to prepare New York’s public schools and students for tomorrow’s challenges. But there is more we need to do.

"From exploring expanded graduation requirements to supporting vital experiential, hands-on learning programs — like we did in Syracuse just a few weeks ago — we are reimagining how our public schools can educate the whole child and be the vibrant centers of every community. And in New York we are not only meeting the moment, we are leading this change.

"This includes today’s announcement which will provide educators with access to proven, effective teaching methods, like the Science of Reading, which addresses more than WHAT students are learning; it focuses on HOW children learn best, and it gives our educators the backing they need to support ALL children.

"This is part of a national movement that acknowledges not just the importance of literacy, but also recognizes that teaching children to read is complex. In the past 10 years, almost every state has implemented new policies to ensure teachers have full access to the latest tools for teaching reading. These policies aren’t merely the result of the latest fads. They’re guided by new breakthroughs in brain science and backed by strong evidence from hundreds of studies.

"Every week I travel across the state and speak with educators who care deeply for their students and want them all to experience the pride and joy that comes with learning to read and write. Our educators deserve the support that will enable them to give every student the opportunity to feel the joy and empowerment that comes with literacy.

"I want to thank the governor for including us in this announcement today and for acknowledging that too often there is a gap between what educators need to help every student learn and the tools that they have actually been given. This program is one way we are closing that gap."