In the 2020 legislative session, Alaska Policy Forum plans to advance critical education reforms. For decades, Alaska’s fourth graders have been among the worst readers in the country. Many of these students have fallen over a year behind their peers in other states. If children cannot read by the end of third grade, they fall behind in fourth grade when they need to use their reading skills to learn new subjects, such as history and science.
For years, APF has been on the forefront of this issue, building momentum for reform by increasing awareness, educating parents and teachers, forming coalitions of supporters, providing testimony, and penning op-eds. Not so long ago, Florida’s fourth graders were also struggling to read proficiently. In response, Florida implemented common sense reforms—including early reading interventions, personalized lesson plans, and resources for teachers and parents. Now, fourth graders in Florida are among the best readers in the country. Following the Florida model, which has also been successfully recreated in Mississippi, APF will change the future for Alaska’s students—ensuring they have the reading skills needed to succeed not just in school, but throughout life.