New Literacy Legislation
Christy_Gullion at ed.gov
Thu Nov 4 15:52:00 EST 1999
November 4, 1999
Today, Congressman Bill Goodling introduced new legislation that will
improve and expand family literacy services nationwide. The bill, titled
the Literacy Involves Families Together (LIFT) Act, has bipartisan support
and is likely to become part of Congress' ongoing consideration of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Congressman Goodling, Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the
Workforce, is also the author of the Even Start Family Literacy Act and has
been a champion of literacy issues in the U.S. Congress for over two
decades. In 1991, he was an original sponsor of the National Literacy Act
along with Congressman Tom Sawyer and former Senator Paul Simon.
This new legislation will strengthen the nation's family literacy
infrastructure in several ways. These include:
* States will be allowed to use a portion of their Even Start
allotment to assist local programs in improving the quality of their family
* States will review the progress and quality of local family literacy
programs and use such information in making continuation grants.
* The bill allows Even Start to serve children older than age 8 if
schools use Title I funds (the federal program for educationally
disadvantaged students) to pay a portion of the costs.
* Title I programs with large numbers of children whose parents do not
possess a high school diploma will be encouraged to provide family literacy
* The new legislation will allow programs that have received Even
Start funds for eight years - the current funding limit - to continue to
receive funds at a reduced federal matching rate (35%).
* Even Start programs will use instructional programs base on
scientifically based reading research in designing services for children and
adults. In addition, LIFT will provide funding to extend important new
research on children's reading, and to look at reading development in adults
within the family context.
* The bill increases the Even Start authorization to $500 million.
Even Start received $135 million in 1999.
The Senate is currently developing its own version of the ESEA. As a
result, final consideration of LIFT will likely not occur until next year as
part of the overall ESEA reauthorization legislation.
Full text of the bill can be viewed at http://thomas.loc.gov.
Senior Policy Analyst
National Institute for Literacy
1775 I Street NW, Suite 730
cgullion at nifl.gov
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