Camilleri Announces Workgroup to Address State’s Illiteracy Crisis

Legislators join project aimed at improving reading proficiency
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

LANSING — State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) announced today the formation of a literacy workgroup with the goal of creating a policy package that addresses the reading crisis facing Michigan students and families.

“Everyone can agree that it is unacceptable that our state ranks 46th in the country in reading,” said Camilleri, a former high school teacher. “Only about half of our students are proficient in reading for their grade level. I hope my colleagues will join me to address illiteracy with the seriousness and urgency that this topic deserves.”

Rep. Camilleri invited all of his House colleagues to join the workgroup, pointing out that this crisis affects schools in districts across the state. Rep. Camilleri’s Democratic colleagues on the House Education Reform Committee, as well as other members of the House Democratic caucus, have already committed to joining the workgroup.

State Rep. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor), Democratic vice chairman of the House Education Reform Committee, is among those joining the workgroup. “It’s clear that Michigan needs to double down on our efforts to provide meaningful supports and interventions to students of all ages who are struggling to read. Literacy is at the core of all educational experiences and unless we reverse Michigan’s child and adult illiteracy challenges, we will continue to struggle with preparing young Michiganders to be the best and brightest we know they are,” Zemke said.

The announcement of the workgroup follows Camilleri’s introduction of an amendment that would change Michigan’s constitution to ensure students have access to quality public schools and to literacy. “As I spoke with teachers and students across the 28 different schools I visited in March, they brought up a number of concerns and ideas related to reading,” Camilleri said. “It is my hope that this workgroup will produce a package of legislation that supports access to literacy and a quality education for all.”