The Front Burner: Take Action

AB 110, a bill requiring the drafting of a Guidebook for Dyslexia and Related Conditions, is headed to the Senate Education Committee. Contact the members with your support.

AB 194 creates an exemption from the Foundations of Reading Test for special education teachers, and AB 195 creates exemptions for teachers who are trained out-of-state. Contact the Assembly and Senate Education Committees to demand that the FORT apply to all these teachers, as intended by state statute.

Scroll down for information on the Common Core State Standards, Wisconsin NAEP Results, the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test, Action at the Department of Public Instruction, Initiatives In Wisconsin and Across the County, News on Milwaukee Public Schools, the 2011 Read to Lead Blue Ribbon Task Force, and 2012 Act 166

State Superintendent Tony Evers adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 to replace the inadequate Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. In the area of foundational reading, there is no question that the CCSS are vastly superior to our previous standards. Wisconsin was fortunate to have the collaboration of reading experts from other states in developing the CCSS. See WRC comment on the CCSSWRC paper on standards, and WRC standards comparison from 2010 for details.

In September, 2013, Governor Scott Walker issued a statement calling for Wisconsin to have its own unique standards which would be more rigorous that the CCSS, and State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt and Sen. Paul Farrow held four information-gathering hearings. No specifics have been given as to which standards need strengthening, who would draft those new standards, and whether that would occur under the umbrella of the CCSS (states are allowed to supplement the CCSS with 15% of their own standards) or in a completely separate process.
Senate and Assembly education committee chairs Luther Olsen and Steve Kestell have not supported this challenge to the CCSS.

In July, 2014, Governor Walker called for the legislature to repeal the Common Core in January, 2015. However, support for this position seemed to erode. A poll by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute in January, 2015, showed that 62% of Wisconsinites support Common Core. The Governor's statements switched in January to clarifying for school districts that they do not need to use the Common Core if they want to adopt different standards.


NOTE: The data in these documents reflects Wisconsin's performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. There is always a tendency to think, "But my school is much better. We met or exceeded expectations on the Wisconsin school report card."
We encourage you to look at your school and district testing results. It is possible for schools to receive a "meets expectations" or "exceeds expectations" rating on the Wisconsin School Report Card while far fewer than half of their students can read proficiently. Decide whether this level of performance meets your expectations. This is data you can use for objective discussions with your school or district.

Wisconsin 2013 NAEP Reading Report Card

Wisconsin's 2011 NAEP Scores Again Disappointing

2009 NAEP Scores Show Drop in 4th Grade Reading in Wisconsin

2011 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) Results Show Milwaukee is Still Near the Bottom

2009 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) Results Show Milwaukee is Near the Bottom


Note: 2018 teacher licensing rules promulgated by DPI reduce the impact of the Foundations of Reading Test by creating new Tier 1 licenses that allow teachers into the classroom without passing the FORT.


DPI's literacy cadre consists of Tamara Maxwell, Laura Adams, and Barb Novak.

Read about the implementation of universal reading screening in Wisconsin

Read about the 2013-15 budget process that expanded PALS screening beyond kindergarten, plus WRC comments to the legislators.

Read concerns on the proposed Wisconsin school accountability report card and how it reports student growth and scores of subgroups of students. Report cards for specific districts are available at

Revision of English Language Arts Standards: Adopting the Common Core

Open Letter to the Read to Lead task force addresses critical issues in Wisconsin 
A must-read concerning DPI's plans for implementing the Common Core State Standards in Wisconsin.
Plus: A second open letter
and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, Reading Program Plans Questioned

Wisconsin's  "SLD Rule" effective December 1, 2010

DPI issues guidance on SLD Rule, December, 2013

DPI Guidelines for Implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI)

DPI issues RTI Guidelines and three documents on the RTI/SLD Relationship

Read comments on RtI in Wisconsin by  Wisconsin Reading Coalition, Wisconsin Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, and Wisconsin School Psychologists Association.  

Inadequacies of Wisconsin's Vision for Response to Intervention

The Wisconsin RTI Center has released the results of a Universal Reading Screening Survey. Click on the links to see a summary of the "top tools" schools are using across the state, and an Excel file with names of schools and individuals who are willing to share their contact information. Also on the RTI Center site, you can find RTI Center rubrics for selecting screening tools, interventions, and progress-monitoring tools.


New Jersey passed dyslexia legislation on August 7, 2013, requiring teacher training in reading disabilities and requiring the NJ Board of Education to provide training opportunities. Pending legislation includes a statutory definition of dyslexia based on the IDA definition, screening for reading disabilities by 1st grade, and developing a certificate for teachers of students with dyslexia.

The ACLU has filed a civil rights action (August, 2012) on behalf of Highland Park, Michigan students who have not been taught to read proficiently. Michigan law provides that "Excluding special education pupils, pupils having a learning disability, and pupils with extenuating circumstances as determined by school officials, a pupil who does not score satisfactorily on the 4th or 7th grade [MEAP] reading test shall be provided special assistance reasonably expected to enable the pupil to bring his or her reading skills to grade level within 12 months." [MCL 380.1278(8).]
Read the complaint.

A Minnesota court has ordered the Minnesota State Colleges and University system to hand over syllabi from education school courses to the National Council on Teacher Quality. The NCTQ had requested the syllabi for a comprehensive national study of teacher preparation programs, and Minnesota had refused on the grounds that these documents are the intellectual property of the professors. The court found that releasing the documents did not negatively impact intellectual property rights, and that the intended use for research falls under the fair use doctrine of the federal copyright law. A similar court case is pending in Wisconsin. Read NCTQ comment.

Minnesota's Americorps program Minnesota Reading Corps (recommended for Wisconsin by the Read to Lead task force) shows impressive results. Watch 2012 kickoff video.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation announced on November 16, 2011 that the first goal of its Milwaukee Succeeds initiative will be to improve third grade reading performance. The Helen Bader Foundation has contributed $300,000 over three years toward this effort.
Read the announcement.

ACLU files "right to read" class action in Michigan. Read commentary in the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor

Mississippi reading legislation targets creation of reading programs staffed by licensed dyslexia therapists

North Carolina is considering legislation mandating the MTEL 90 Foundations of Reading test for new teachers, as well as reading camps and retention for students who fail the 3rd grade reading test.

Should the term "dyslexia" be used in the DSM-V revision?

Legalize Dyslexia Petition from the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

Ohio begins pilot for early intervention for dyslexia

The Education Commission of the United States has an online update on state reading and literacy policies enacted since 2000, arranged chronologically working backward from recent adoptions.

National Council on Teacher Quality sues UW Board of Regents for education course syllabi
Read article    Read the complaint

Ohio Reading Legislation: At year-end, Ohio passed legislation placing the definition of dyslexia into the statutes, beginning a three-year pilot program for early identification and remediation of students at-risk for dyslexia and other phonologically-based reading disorders, defining a dyslexia specialist as someone who has achieved training consistent with the Level II IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards, and giving  Ohio Educational Service Centers (similar to Wisconsin's CESA's) and other educational institutions permission to hire dyslexia specialists to provide professional development for Ohio teachers and administrators. 
Read more.

Wisconsin's Striving Readers Grant submitted
Click here to read the application
(Wisconsin was not among the winning states)

Minnesota passes new reading reforms


Performance Facts

History of Resistance to Change

MPS Comprehensive Literacy Plan and New Core Reading Programs

Jamie S. Settlement Agreement

Giving More Power to the State Superintendent
Go to the media page for articles on legislation giving the State Superintendent of Public Instruction authority to implement reforms in MPS.

WRC provided ongoing information on the Governor's Read to Lead Task Force during 2011. Click here for summaries of the process and each meeting.

Read the final report of the Task Force. issued January 4, 2012
Read Superintendent Tony Evers' statement on the report.

Read JSOnline comment by Erin Richards

Read an expanded JSOnline article by Erin Richards
Read JSOnline article by Alan Borsuk
Read Wis. State Journal comment
Video interview with Supt. Evers from Here and Now
Audio interviews on Wis. Public Radio, La Crosse Newsmakers with Tony Pedriana, Rob Tyvoll, Governor Walker, and James Kuchta
Read Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial
Read Waunakee Tribune E-News article

Click here for a history of the legislation, ACT 166, that came from the Task Force: universal screening for students, a Foundations of Reading Test for new teachers, and creation of the Read to Lead Council
Click here for a re-cap of 2009-10 legislative efforts