by Doug Sprei, National Director of Communications Last month, Learning Ally joined more than 50 other education advocacy and non-governmental organizations in sending a clear message to Congress to prioritize literacy education in the reauthorization of the nation’s primary general education law, currently known as No Child Left Behind . The United States House of Representatives and Senate have both passed new and different versions of the national elementary and secondary education law. Now, the two houses will meet in a conference committee to combine the two versions into a single bill to be considered by both houses for final passage before it heads to President Obama’s desk. While the two bills are different in many ways, we are focused on the section in the Senate’s bipartisan bill, Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), that creates a new national program to support states in creating comprehensive literacy instruction plans. These plans will be developed to ensure every student from kindergarten to high school graduation receives the evidence-based reading and writing instruction he or she needs to be prepared to enter the workforce or proceed to a postsecondary education. We will continue to advocate for students to receive the best, proven, evidenced-based literacy instruction throughout their schooling. We are all acutely aware of the indispensable role literacy plays in each child’s education, as a gateway to all other learning that can be either wide open and well-developed, or cramped and closed off if a student has not been taught using proven, evidenced-based methods that support his or her specific educational needs. The Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act builds on the proven models of state-led literacy plans that have been supported by the U.S. Education Department through a limited program during the past five years, and expands and supports the program to reach every state and every child. As of this writing, the members of the conference committee have not been named, but it is expected very shortly. Once the committee is named, the heavy lifting will begin. As the committee’s work progresses, we will continue to advocate for students to receive the best, proven, evidenced-based literacy instruction throughout their schooling. Learning Ally believes this program,which was unanimously adopted by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support, is crucial to ensuring our children receive the education they need. We are proud to join with the other members of the Advocates for Literacy coalition in asking the leaders of the House and Senate education committees to include this program in the reauthorization of our national education law.