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NM Senator to "LIFT" Literacy

The stacks at the Santa Fe Community College library.
S. Baxter Clinton
The stacks at the Santa Fe Community College library.

New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich has introduced the Literacy Improvement for Transformation act, Abbreviated as LIFT.

This Legislation is aiming to improve the literacy results of all students by instituting a minimum of one full-time reading or literacy specialist on staff at all public schools across the country.

In America, over 8 million K-5 Students that grow up in low income situations end up not being proficient in reading.

According to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the rate of children who struggle with reading by 4th grade that don't complete high school is quadruple that of children who have proficient reading skills.

The students in underserved areas or those who have learning disabilities have additional issues in becoming skilled readers.

By hiring more specialists in our education system we can begin to help bridge the literacy gap and provide support for those students who are at risk.

The LIFT act could support schools with the resources to specifically address their students' reading abilities and improve the overall literacy outcomes of American education systems.

The LIFT act would establish a grant program that would provide local and state educational agencies, non profit partners and the Bureau of Indian Education schools, with the support needed to hire a full time literacy specialist.

The act sets a standard that a reading specialist fired in this situation would spend at least 80% of their working time directly with students.

Other goals of the LIFT act are to elevate biliteracy approaches, protect oral based indigenous languages and support the development of advanced literacy teaching plans.

Senator Heinrich said, “Every child in New Mexico and across the country deserves an equal shot at success. That begins by making sure every student is able to read and write at their grade level or higher.”

Shantar Baxter Clinton is the hourly News Reporter for KSFR. He’s earned an Associates of the Arts from Bard College at Simons Rock and a Bachelors in journalism with a minor in anthropology from the University of Maine.