Ruud, Senate approve education bill to reverse Minnesota’s declining reading scores

Minnesota’s third grade reading proficiency has been flat or declined every year since 2013. Currently only about one-half of students are reading at grade level.

Minnesota State Capitol Building
Facade of the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St Paul
Paul Brady/pabrady63 -

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Senate approved an education bill that seeks to reverse Minnesota’s chronically inadequate literacy scores.

The legislation instructs school boards to develop a public, accountable plan that will achieve 90% reading proficiency by third grade; delivers funding to provide all Minnesota teachers with indispensable training in the science of reading instruction; and refocuses Regional Centers of Excellence to prioritize literacy.

The Senate’s focus on improving literacy comes on the heels of historic education bills that have fully funded K-12 schools, including $18.6 billion in total education funding in 2017, 2% annual student formula increases in 2019, and $1.1 billion in funding increases in 2021 — including the largest formula growth in 15 years.

Carrie Ruud
Carrie Ruud

“Literacy has been linked with long-term life success, and it’s alarming that 52% of our state’s third graders are not reading at grade-level,” stated Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, in a news release. “We want our kids to be successful — we’ve already funded education at historical levels. It’s time we focus resources on improving literacy.”

Minnesota’s third grade reading proficiency has been flat or declined every year since 2013. Currently only about one-half of students are reading at grade level . The Senate’s education bill instructs each school district and charter school to develop a comprehensive plan with clearly defined benchmarks to achieve 90% reading proficiency by third grade, and to host an annual public meeting to review progress and revise as needed.


Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling is a training program with a track record of success at improving reading scores. States like Mississippi are outperforming Minnesota in reading score increases in large part due to their use of Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling, which trains teachers on the science of reading and the most effective ways to teach kids to read. The bill also appropriates key funding to provide teachers with the program training by 2026.

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