Secondary Literacy Education: Refocusing National and State Interest
Keywords:secondary literacy education, adolescent literacy, secondary literacy teacher preparation
For more than a decade, investigations and debates from national reading panels, school reform policies, and the No Child Left Behind Act have amplified the need for basic literacy skills and focused national attention on early literacy. In 2005, recognizing the need to support underachieving high school students, the Striving Readers Initiative was proposed and funded at $24.8 million in the first year and $29.7 in 2006. For fiscal year 2007, $100 million has been requested, a $70.3 million dollar increase (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2007). National attention, however, remains focused on early literacy even as the need to attend to adolescent literacy grows. The need to focus on secondary literacy and secondary literacy teacher preparation was underscored and elaborated upon during the 2006 Literacy Summit, where members were charged with preparing a summary of the status of literacy in the state of Georgia and framing recommendations. Members of the Secondary Education Literacy Team, scholars from various universities in Georgia and professionals from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), not only acknowledged the absence of a concerted focus on adolescent literacy, but also recognized that current literacy practices for 9th-12th grade education are not sufficiently reflective of the opportunities and skills that culturally and linguistically diverse students need to succeed.