Sen. Sampson Offers Bill to Prevent State Mandates on Local School Reading Curriculum

February 9, 2024

State Sen. Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott) this week requested that the legislature’s Education Committee raise a bill that would amend Sec. 10-14hh(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) to prevent the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) from mandating specific reading curriculum for grades K-3. His request is designed to assist local town boards of education like Cheshire and Southington, which last year were denied waivers under CSDE’s “Right to Read” program.


“As of today, more than 20 of my colleagues have signed on to my proposal. Many towns in our district, and across our state, currently have curriculum models that are already working for their students, and CSDE should have granted them waivers to continue their successful programs. Schools like in Cheshire and Southington that are producing positive outcomes for their students should not be penalized. That is why I am asking our Education Committee to remove these specific reading mandates on K-3 programs,” said Sen. Sampson.


“This mandate is an example of how something that can be well-intentioned can lead to more problems. It is also a prime example of why I continue to advocate for small government and local control. I trust our locally elected officials and locally appointed superintendents to make the right decisions for our school systems,” he said.




  • The “Right to Read” program was enacted in the June 2021 special legislative session through Public Act 21-2 and updated in the 2023 legislative session via Public Act 23-167. It requires each school district to implement a comprehensive reading curriculum model or program for grades K-3, of which there are unfortunately only a few options prescribed by CSDE.


  • This measure is commonly known as the “Right to Read” program, with intent to improve student literacy and address issues relating to equity and opportunity gaps that exist in public education in the state.


  • State statute allows for school districts that meet certain CSDE reading requirements to apply for waivers to be exempted from this program.


  • This new reading statute and its implementation has changed past CSDE practice to the detriment of towns like Cheshire and Southington, who have already proven that their models have produced exemplary results.


  • Some school districts have demonstrated their ability to create their own curriculum models that follow the prescribed statute. However, this has not satisfied CSDE.


  • Last December, Sen. Sampson wrote to CSDE Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker to discuss the “Right to Read” program’s waiver process and undue burdens on Cheshire and Southington K-3 schools.


*Note: this release was updated at 3:22 PM on Feb. 9 to reflect an addition to the list of signers on Sen. Sampson’s Education Committee bill request.