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Reading gaps are growing across New York; state says plan will address shortcomings

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  • Staff Report 

In response to concerns over low reading scores among students, the New York state budget has prioritized educational reforms aimed at enhancing literacy. Governor Kathy Hochul has advocated for schools to adopt a phonics-based approach, requiring the state Education Department to develop best practices based on the science of reading by early 2025. School districts will need to confirm annually that these practices are being implemented in the early grades.


This legislative action follows reports that only 48% of third to eighth graders achieved proficiency in reading, as per state testing. The move has received general support from educators, although some express concerns about the implications of statewide mandates on teaching methods.

The state budget also allocates $10 million to train 20,000 educators in these new instructional practices. Meanwhile, the specifics of the best practices and compliance mechanisms remain under development, with final guidelines expected by January 1, 2025. Despite uncertainties over enforcement, state officials anticipate broad compliance, emphasizing that curriculum choices will still be determined locally to best meet community needs.