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Yarmuth Announces First Solo Bill: The Striving Readers Act of 2007

Bipartisan Legislation Focuses on Teenage Literacy

(Louisville, KY) Today at Lassiter Middle School, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced his plans to introduce his first solo bill, the Striving Readers Act of 2007, a comprehensive literacy bill for students grades 4th - 12th.  Yarmuth will work with more than twenty national education groups to make sure this proposal becomes a key piece of the No Child Left Behind reauthorization scheduled for later this year.

"The Striving Readers trial program has been very effective, right here in Kentucky, at helping students, who are on the verge of dropping out of high school, graduate and become legitimate candidates for a full college education," Congressman Yarmuth told students and teachers.

The Striving Readers Act would create a 5-year $1 billion grant program to help states and local education agencies establish literacy programs. States and schools would use these funds to establish school literacy teams, provide adolescent literacy training for teachers and school leaders, improve reading curriculum, and involve parents in adolescent literacy instruction. The legislation is modeled after the Striving Readers pilot program, which serves eight districts nationwide, including one in Danville, Kentucky. The Striving Readers Act will help 70% of America's middle and high school students who score below grade level in reading proficiency and are in danger of dropping out of school.  Research shows that the Striving Readers pilot program makes great strides in bringing students up to speed and helping them master college preparatory material.  Currently, nearly $4 billion is spent annually on remedial education.  Yarmuth's legislation would reach children earlier, ensuring that they have the resources, personal attention, and parental involvement they need to address the problem early.

Congressman Yarmuth's bill, which would authorize the program at the federal level, has already received broad bipartisan support and has been endorsed by the National Education Association, the Kentucky Reading Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and dozens of other education organizations and professional associations.

Brenda Overturf, President of the Kentucky Reading Association presented Congressman Yarmuth with a stack of letters from educators in the community, thanking him for his commitment and initiative in the area of education.  "This bill will make a tremendous impact in literacy nationwide, and I am so thankful to be represented by Congressman Yarmuth, who has taken the initiative to make it happen."

In the Senate, Patty Murray (D-WA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) have introduced similar legislation that has garnered wide, bipartisan support, and already has ten cosponsors.