Feb. 07, 2024

HARRISBURG — Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) today issued the following statement in response to the Senate Education Committee unanimously reporting out Senate Bill 801, which is a mirror image of his House Bill 998 to advance literacy achievement for all:

“While this initiative was not included by Gov. Josh Shapiro in his budget address yesterday, investing in early literacy in every school across the state should be a top priority as we try to fulfill the Commonwealth Court's landmark decision on fair funding and increase our state's declining early literacy rate, which stands at 32% proficient by the end of third grade. Gov. Shapiro proposed an increase of $1.1 billion in education spending yesterday, which, if passed, would be the largest single-year increase in school funding in our Commonwealth’s history. Surely, something as important as teaching children how to read should be included and prioritized in such a proposal.

“This is a great first step. The bill includes early screening for all children in grades K-3, requires the use of evidence-based structured literacy backed by scientific data, creates a reading council to help develop curriculum and resources for all school districts, provides teachers with professional development and training, establishes a grant program to help schools offset the costs of implementation, and bans the harmful practice of three-cueing.

“I look forward to this legislation moving further in the legislative process as the future of our children depend on it.”

The 46th Legislative District includes South Fayette Township and McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Cecil, Chartiers, Mt. Pleasant and North Strabane (Districts 6,7,8 and 9) townships and Canonsburg, Houston and McDonald boroughs in Washington County.

Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
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