Lindsay Marchello reports for Carolina Journal:

Wednesday was a busy day for the Senate Education Committee, which approved six bills during its April 17 meeting. Three of them directly affect K-12 education.

Senate Leader Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, kicked off the meeting with an explanation of his sponsored bill: the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019.

Senate Bill 438 makes a variety of changes to the Read to Achieve, the state’s K-3 literacy program aimed at improving reading scores of public school students statewide. Changes include establishing individual reading plans, creating the Digital Children’s Reading Initiative, creating the Comprehensive Plan to Improve Literacy Instruction, creating a uniform reporting structure for Read to Achieve data, expanding the Wolfpack WORKS program, as well as a few other new instructional requirements.

Berger said that Read to Achieve hasn’t made the gains promised. While some school districts have seen improvements in reading scores, Berger said others haven’t benefited as much.

“There have been, I might as well acknowledge it, some disappointments as far as what we’ve seen in terms of outcomes,” Berger told committee members. “The key thing is we recognize that and are trying to make corrections.”

Berger said one strategy to address the lack of progress are individual reading plans or IRPs. Students identified as reading below grade level would receive an IRP specifically curated to help them improve. The Senate leader said Florida and Mississippi have similar programs and they appear to be working.

Read more here.