Louisiana House of Representatives Passes Landmark Steve Carter Literacy Program

The Louisiana legislature advanced legislation which will address Louisiana’s childhood literacy crisis. The House of Representatives, with a 94-0 bipartisan vote, passed HB85, the Steve Carter Literacy Program, which will provide for payments of up to $1,000 per student per year for eligible services intended to improve reading or literacy skills.

“This literacy program was the final legislative initiative championed by Rep. Steve Carter before leaving the legislature in 2020,” said Kelli Bottger, American Federation for Children’s Regional Government Affairs Director.

“Rep. Carter worked tirelessly throughout his career to ensure Louisiana’s children, regardless of their ZIP code or income level, had access to a quality education through school choice. His idea couldn’t come at a better time when far too many Louisiana children are dealing with significant learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

HB85 Details:

  • Provides for payments of up to $1000 per student per school year for eligible services intended to improve reading or literacy skills.
  • Open to public school students in kindergarten through 5th grade who meet the following eligibility criteria:
    • Student who is in grades K-3 and reads below grade level or is at risk for reading difficulties according to a literacy screener.
    • Student who is in grades 4-5 and scored below mastery in English language arts on the state assessment in the prior schoolyear, or a student in these grades recommended by an English teacher.
  • Gives priority to the lowest performing economically disadvantaged students.
  • Requires the Department of Education to administer the program pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

HB85 is an LFC legislative priority bill and will now go to the Louisiana Senate.