• The "Right To Read" Act Is A Mandate To Transform Reading With An "Equity Lens"

    February 18, 2024

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    By now, Connecticut taxpayers are unfortunately all too familiar with finding surprises jammed into bills, especially in the budget implementer.

    The Connecticut "Right to Read" Act is one of those unfortunate surprises.

    The "Right to Read" Act started out life as H.B. No. 6620: An Act Concerning the Right to Read and Addressing the Opportunity Gaps and Equity in Public Schools.

    Then Democrats surreptitiously slid the "Right to Read" Act into the lengthy, 790-page Public Act No. 21-2: An Act Concerning Provisions Related To Revenue And Other Items To Implement The State Budget For The Biennium Ending June 30, 2023 (Sections 394-404, Page 615).

    The CT Mirror noted, "...legislation designed to improve grade-school reading curricula across the state — which was voted out of the Committee on Education in the spring but never came to a vote in the House of Representatives — became law as part of the massive budget implementation bill." The bill "calls for $12.8 million" ... so that students who are "falling behind can hire reading coaches."

    Screenshot, CT Public Act No. 21-2

    Many people didn't realize the budget implementer included $12,860,000 for the "Right to Read" until well after it passed.

    Now that it's passed, people are learning that many of the state-approved reading programs are unfortunately jam-packed full of equity and gender ideology. Probably because helping students to advance "thinking and actions about identity, equity, power, and oppression" is actually included among the consideration requirements for the state-approved reading programs.

    This is sadly just another unconstitutional act where top down control is being pushed onto school districts via the majority Democrat Party leaders.

    Who else would stuff an education bill inside the budget bill?

    What is the 'Right to Read Act'?

    On a national level, the World Library Association provides useful information about this Act, otherwise known as "The Freedom to Read Act."

    The Act was proposed by the American Library Association, an organization now synonymous with cultural Marxism and the gender ideology agenda, especially thanks to the leadership of self-proclaimed Marxist Emily Drabinski, who opposes "book banning"—also known as the practice of ensuring books are age-appropriate for children.

    The World Library Association cautions about "Right to Read" laws that, "might block the First Amendment right of parents to challenge books, exempt librarians from obscenity laws, and provide librarians with a right to sue parents."

    Does that mean more sexually-explicit and pornographic books will find their way into schools?

    The "Right to Read" in CT

    The Pilot Program was conducted in 2016.

    “There is a proven method for literacy instruction, and we need to use it in all of our Connecticut classrooms. Our students are entitled to it,” Sen. Patricia Billie Miller wrote in a Stamford Advocate opinion piece.

    Miller, who shepherded the "Right to Read" legislation, lays blame on the state for the thousands of students reaching third grade each year still struggling to read."

    The partisan bill, raised in the Education Committee, had 30 co-sponsors.

    Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) executive director, Fran Rabinowitz, said in her testimony on the bill that, "the ability to read is essential, and CAPSS fully embraces the work this bill seeks to accomplish."

    CAPSS "fully embraces" the work? Is Rabinowitz talking about the "equity work"?

    Of course, it should come as no surprise that an organization like CAPSS would back the "Right to Read" given that the keynote speakers for its conference next month are also focused on equity and anti-racism.  And because CAPSS also believes public education must be "transformed" using the concept of "equity" to usher in that transformation.

    Rabinowitz even said as much in her testimony.

    "Recently CAPSS published a Blueprint to Transform Connecticut's Public Schools. In it, we described a set of 30 recommendations to transform education in Connecticut," she said (Italics mine.)

    Why does "transforming education" always have to be done "through the equity lens"?

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    Anne Manusky

    Anne Manusky, M.Ed., a 23-year Easton resident, wife and mother, is also the President of the CT Republican Assembly Chapter of NFRA and also CT Parents Involved in Education (CTPIE is a chapter of USPIE). She ran in Easton for Board of Education in 2015 and for Selectman in 2018. She has written extensively to advocate for children's issues, especially against the current ideological trends of pressuring academics, sex transition and psychological manipulation of children.

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