Local Politics

Perdue pushes for diagnostic assessment devices for teachers

Posted June 18, 2010 2:09 p.m. EDT
Updated June 18, 2010 6:34 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Bev Perdue is pushing for teachers across the state to have hand-held diagnostic assessment devices.

The mini-computers are available for math and reading for kindergarten through the third grade. The reading diagnostic scores five key areas including vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.

Currently, 39 schools in the state are using the devices.

"I do think that by putting this in the hands of teachers it would create a breakthrough in our reading program," Cumberland County teacher Kim Frazee said Friday.

The devices provide immediate feedback on a child's strengths, weaknesses and provide strategies for improvement.

"It would immediately show me the range that the child is in, if the child is at some risk, a low risk or at high risk," she said.

Perdue included nearly $39 million for the devices in her proposed budget, but has faced opposition from lawmakers. The state Senate included $15 million for the program in its budget and the House allotted no funding for the program.

Perdue believes the funds are critical for the program to expand statewide. "Especially for lower performing schools where the kids need it more," Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said.

"If we don't invest in education now, we all suffer the consequences for years to come," Pearson said.

Lawmakers are dealing with an $800 million shortfall that could grow to $1.2 billion if the state doesn’t receive anticipated federal stimulus funds.

By law, the state must approve a budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year by June 30.