The House reduced funds for Ohio’s projected operational budget’s science of reading.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s budget, introduced earlier this year, included $64 million for the science of reading curricula, $43 million for two years of the science of reading instruction for educators, and $12 million for 100 literacy coaches in schools and districts.
The Ohio House budget recently approved $44 million for science of reading curricula, $21.5 million for educator science of reading instruction, and $6 million and $12 million for literacy coaches in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.
Reading science involves phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension based on decades of study on how the brain learns to read.
The Senate must sign the budget by June 30 to take effect on July 1, the start of the new state fiscal year.
The House halved teacher stipends for professional development in reading science.
DeWine’s budget included $1,200 stipends for K-5 teachers, English language instructors in grades 6-12, intervention experts, and instructional coaches. Middle and high school instructors in other subjects would get $400 stipends.
The House budget halved the stipends to $600 and $200.
“These are hours that will happen outside of a teacher’s workday and should be compensated at a rate comparable to a teacher’s daily rate,” Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper told the Senate Education Committee. “The budget must fund this compensation for districts.”
She favors reading science but attacks DeWine’s budget.
She said that Governor DeWine’s unilateral policy rollout missed a chance to include educators. “This would have made this policy change collaborative rather than yet another political mandate imposed on educators without input or respect for our professional expertise.”
Washington Local Schools in Toledo shifted to the science of reading in 2018-19 and some teachers have taken Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling professional development.
The district’s curriculum consultant, Molly Chamberlin, told OCJ that struggling readers may become good decoders and fluent readers. “That’s huge.”
The House’s budget preserved the restriction on the “three-cueing” approach but broadened it include any model that teaches reading based on meaning, structure, and syntax.
Does it make sense? It’s right? Looks good?
This budget proposal bothers state teacher unions and some educators.
“Banning other methods only adds a nuanced political element that creates anxiety and divisiveness in a situation where everyone should be pulling together,” Cropper testified.
Chairman Andrew Brenner, R-Delaware, gave Cropper some advice.
Brenner agreed with Brenner’s comments.
Jeffery L. Williams, a former literacy coach from Solon City School District in Cleveland, wants the measure to remove three-cueing language.
Williams said that banning this would deny instructors any reading technique. This would confuse districts, institutions, and schools across Ohio.
Ohio State University College of Education assistant professor Emily Rodgers also wants the budget limitation on three cueing lifted.
Banning any educational method is harmful. What’s next? Banning evolution education?” Rodgers wrote.
Louisiana and Arkansas forbid three-cueing curriculum.