Understanding Outcomes of the “Right to Read” Settlement
Our January 17, 2024 virtual forum featured Sarah Novicoff, lead author of the working paper The Achievement Effects of Scaling Early Literacy Reforms. She and her co-researcher looked at the 75 schools receiving the Early Literacy Support Block Grant (ELSBG), which provided teacher professional development, new funding (about $1000 per student), spending flexibility within specified guidelines, and expert facilitation and oversight of school-based planning. They found that ELSBG substantially improved the reading performance of targeted students and had positive spillover effects on performance in math as well.
One big takeaway was that the science of reading will succeed if implemented within a supportive policy infrastructure and environment. That includes funding, support for schools and teachers, supporting teacher learning aligned to the curriculum, and autonomy to meet the unique needs of each school.
Watch the presentation:
You can find some slides from the presentation here.
The Block Grant that was established in response to the lawsuit Ella T. vs. the State of California created an environment for implementation that went far beyond teacher training or curricular purchases. In addition to those components, ELSBG allocated about $1,000 per student and allowed principals broad autonomy to choose the expenditures that would best help their students. Principals also consulted with the state-designated Expert Lead in Literacy to design these action plans and budgets.
Read more about the research findings and policy implications in this article by Sarah Novicoff on the Brookings website: