STATEMENT OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY ON NATIONAL EVALUATION OF EARLY READING FIRST Program Receives Mixed Reviews
WASHINGTON, D.C—Today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the Senate Health,Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement in response to theNational Evaluation of Early Reading First by the Institute of Education Services.
“Helping our youngest children develop their early literacy and language skills is at the heartof the Early Reading First program. Congress should continue its commitment to thisimportant goal, but today's evaluation suggests that much more needs to be done tostrengthen this essential program.
Early Reading First has encouraged promising practices in early childhood classrooms andgreatly expanded the amount of training available to early childhood teachers. Today's studyalso raises important questions about the scope and quality of that training, and suggests littleevidence of its effect on child outcomes. Early Reading First has produced encouragingprogress in helping children recognize letters and words, but has done little to promoteprogress on other important elements of early literacy and language.
As Congress reauthorizes the No Child Left Behind Act, I'm committed to exploring new andinnovative ways to ensure that Early Reading First makes a difference for those children whoneed it the most. It's clear that we need better training and interventions for teachers in theprogram, higher-quality support for those children furthest behind, and new investments inthe social and emotional skills so important to learning in the early years.”