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Governor signs trio of education bills

Mike Phillips - WDEL

Governor John Carney signed three pieces of education legislation into law while on a visit Monday, August 29, 2022, to North Star Elementary School on the first day of the new school year.

Senate Bill 195 relates to media literacy and ensuring children understand appropriate, responsible, and healthy online behavior.

House Bill 304 will require students to participate in a universal reading screening to ensure the supports they need.

Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 4 will require the Department of Education to maintain and publish a list of evidence-based, reading instruction curricula for grades kindergarten through 3.

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said part of the education package identifies the need for support around professional development for teachers.

"And that professional development will be embedded so time is mentioned in this legislation which I think is very important, time for educators to be taught the science of reading," said Holodick.

Recent school test scores highlight the need for improved reading skills.

"The data speaks for itself," said Holodick, "we have a long way to go in regard to our reading scores, and this is one very important component in the process of improving them, and creating a level playing field for all of the kids in the State of Delaware."

State Senator Sarah McBride was primary sponsor of S.B. 195, the Digital Citizenship Education Act that addresses what she called the 'corrosive effect' of online bullying, harassment, disinformation and misinformation.

"We think of young people as digital natives, who are able to sort of seamlessly navigate the internet with an effortlessness that eludes many adults," said McBride, "but the reality is that young people, like all people, struggle online with discerning fact from fiction, hard reporting from opinion, news from advertisements.

"We also know that the reality of bullying, which was once relegated to one area of life, because of the internet is all consuming," said McBride, "and that reality only exacerbates the mental health challenges facing our young people."

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