Thiesfeldt Co-Authors Statewide Program

Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt is one of the authors of a statewide progam providing training for both existing  and upcoming teachers, designed to improve reading instruction in Wisconsin. Thiesfeldt joined Senator Kathy Bernier in authoring the program. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved the Bernier-Thiesfeldt teaching program that will assist Wisconsin’s youth.  According to a press release, Wisconsin has the worst racial achievement gap in the nation.   

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th grade reading scores, only 1/3 of Wisconsin’s students are at proficient level.  Wisconsin once held a top-5 ranking among states on the NAEP but has slipped to as low as 34th in recent years. 

“34% of Wisconsin 4th graders can’t read at a basic level,” said Senator Bernier. “That is totally unacceptable and we need to do everything we can to help schools change out failed educational theories for evidence-based methods already working in other states.  This investment in evidence-based training for both current and future teachers is a critical step toward ensuring every child in Wisconsin can read.” 

“Reading is essential to learning. I have listened as adults shared with me their lifelong struggles as a result of never having received proper reading instruction, and also from parents and students themselves who are currently experiencing the same difficulties.  The data clearly shows we have a problem,” stated Representative Thiesfeldt.  “The prevalence of improper literacy teaching methodology is failing Wisconsin’s children. Other states that have made changes, such as Florida and Mississippi, have seen rapid growth.  Sadly, the school-to-prison pipeline is filled with people who have low levels of literacy.  We can do better, and yesterday’s enactment of a statewide reading program is a huge victory for students and families all across Wisconsin.” 

The statewide reading program enacted last week includes helping Wisconsin’s colleges and universities better prepare upcoming teachers in ensuring students truly learn to read fully.  The program also includes training for current teachers to gain foundational educational skills for properly teaching students using science-based practices.