Lincoln, Neb. — On Monday, at a ceremonial bill signing event in the Governor’s Hearing Room, Governor Pete Ricketts highlighted LB 1081, which was introduced by the Education Committee on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE). The bill contains provisions of LB 651, creating the Nebraska Reading Improvement Act (NRIA). LB 651, before being adopted into LB 1081, was introduced by Senator Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn and supported by Senator Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln. LB 1081 was approved by the Legislature by a vote of 46-1.
“Thank you to Senator Groene, Senator Linehan, and Senator Pansing Brooks for their work on improving grade school reading,” said Governor Ricketts. “Literacy is central to any child’s education. It is a foundational building block in the education our children need to face the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead of them in 21st-century America. The Reading Improvement Act will help ensure that our students have the skills they need to achieve their dreams.”
The NRIA would begin in the 2019-20 school year and would require schools to administer an NDE-approved reading assessment three times per year to all students in grades K-3, except those identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP) or special education. A student performing below an NDE-determined threshold level will receive supplemental reading interventions designed to have the student reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
“Early literacy is the foundation for academic success,” said Senator Linehan. “Nebraska’s students will have more opportunities to gain this critical skill as a result of the provisions set forth in this law.”
“As Chairman of the Education Committee, I introduced LB 1081, which included a provision that eliminated redundant reporting requirements for Poverty and Limited English plans by the Learning community schools and the Department of Education,” said Education Committee Chair Mike Groene. “It was also a pleasure to help Senator Linehan prepare an amended version of her LB 651 and add this needed legislation into our committee priority. Adding an emphasis on the importance of children being proficient in reading is a valued addition to education statutes.”