The NCSL Blog

21

By Jorge E. Casares

Recent teacher strikes in Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif. and West Virginia have been fueled in part by teachers’ demands for more livable wages.

Kids drawingTo keep more money in their teachers’ pockets, Colorado and Connecticut have introduced legislation providing tax credits to preschool educators who are teaching with credentials, associate or bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education.

For more examples, NCSL’s new 2019 Preschool through Third Grade Education Bill Tracker provides a weekly updated list of bills that have been introduced and enacted in legislative sessions across the states. Thus far, 287 bills and resolutions related to early childhood education have been introduced in 41 states.

State legislators have introduced bills to improve early literacy development, address school discipline and reduce class sizes, among several others, this session. Here are some examples from around the country:

  • Arizona’s HB 2083 would require an annual statewide survey of reading proficiency levels of K-3 students and reading programs used.
  • South Carolina and Oklahoma have proposed to remove mandatory retention policies for students not proficient by the end of third grade.
  • Kentucky’s bill would create academic improvement plans for students struggling in reading or mathematics, which would include intensive remediation and possible retention.
  • Minnesota and Oklahoma have prioritized preparing teachers to screen for dyslexia.
  • Arizona, HawaiiNebraska, New York and Virginia have all introduced bills that would prohibit or reduce the expulsion or suspension of children from early childhood settings.
  • Oregon has proposed to reduce kindergarten class sizes to one teacher for every 15 students.

NCSL’s early learning team will be summarizing these legislative actions and trends in a LegisBrief to be released this fall.

Jorge E. Casares is a research analyst in NCSL’s Education Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.