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S.C. Governor Proposes Increased State Aid for Summer Reading Camps

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By guest blogger Alyssa Morones

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina is calling on lawmakers to quadruple state aid for summer reading camps, as part of a broader education agenda, reports the Union Daily Times.

The governor's initiative, which she outlined in her State of the State speech this week, would focus on providing more support for poorer school districts. In addition, she wants to provide $30 million to ensure a reading coach in every public elementary school in the state, as well as provide additional spending for teacher training in reading and the use of technology.

The governor said she developed her plan after several months of meetings with members of the General Assembly, teachers, administrators, business leaders, and stakeholders to identify areas where public schools and teachers needed help.

In coming weeks, lots of governors will be outlining their plans for education in the new year. We'll be sure to keep an eye out for proposals of special interest to readers of this blog, including after-school and summer-school programs, as well as initiatives to expand the school day or school year.

The South Carolina initiative comes as many states are now calling for reading interventions for low-performing schools and students, with some explicitly including plans for intensive reading instruction in the summer.

Of course, it's one thing to ask students to spend part of their summer in school. It's another to ensure that they get a quality experience. As we explored in a 2011 Education Week story, one concern that is getting more attention is to make sure that high-quality educators are tasked with providing the summer instruction. In Houston, that story noted, the school system tied eligibility to teach summer school to the district's measurements of teacher effectiveness. Those teachers who had proven themselves as particularly skilled at raising student learning saw an hourly pay increase for their hours teaching summer school.

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