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Should 3rd Graders be Held Back if They Can't Read to Grade Standard?

Sen. Bruce Dammeier (Puyallup) proposes a plan that would use reading performance tests at the third grade level to determine whether or not a student moves forward to the fourth grade. Do you agree?

Senate policymakers will listen to a proposal on Wednesday aimed at closing the opportunity gap and focusing on the development of reading skills from kindergarten through third grade.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Bruce Dammeier would use reading performance on third-grade assessments to make placement and development plans. Sen. Steve Litzow is co-sponsoring the measure, which will have a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 30.

“This bill is about making sure kids enter fourth grade with the skills to be successful in school and ultimately, in life,” said Dammeier of Puyallup, vice-chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. “The third grade is a pivotal point in a students’ education and it is imperative they have a strong reading foundation before moving on to fourth grade.”  

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, third-grade students scoring below basic levels in reading would be retained in the third grade and given additional support until they are ready to succeed in the fourth grade. 

“All of the research demonstrates that the earlier our students are successful in reading and math, the better their long-term academic and career results,” said Litzow, who heads the Senate’s education committee. “The goal is to put more focus on the early years when children’s minds are rapidly developing. Once our students are exceeding state reading requirements in third grade we’re bound to see the ripple effects: a narrowing opportunity gap and improved high school graduation rates.”

Starting in the 2015-16 school year, students who did not meet state reading standards would require remediation including additional research-based instruction, reduced student-teacher ratios and supplemental tutoring. 

“Our schools are fortunate to have incredible educators,” Dammeier said. “I want to make sure teachers have the resources they need. To go from below average to above average in third grade reading could change a child’s life.”

Information provided by the office of Sen. Bruce Dammeier

Do you think students who don't meet the reading standard in the third grade should be held back? Tell us in the comments. 

Concerned Mom January 27, 2013 at 05:44 AM
FIrst of all Patty that is ridiculous. Some parents are working hard as can be trying to feed and clothe their children - calling in social services because they are working 10-12 hours a day and then feeding, preparing meals, and so forth takes all their time while trying to spend time with their children is ridiculous. Plus some kids DO NOT DO well with their parents trying to help them with their schoolwork. I have three that we help and one that has a fit and is very independent and absolutely refuses to let us help. So should we have social services called on us for that? Ridiculous. Second years ago Sumner had a program that worked so well that they were stunned. It took off like crazy! They weren't prepared for the success of it, but instead of trying to figure out how to adapt and keep it going after the 1st year they dropped it! It was independent - those kids that could do it they let do English and Math on their own with the teacher providing support when needed. The kids who then needed help got it and more of the teachers' attention. It worked and parents were ecstatic. The school district was not prepared for the kids who accelerated and did both the 6th and 7th grade levels (they were in 6th), when 7th grade rolled around they just threw them back into the regular 7th grade levels causing an uproar with the parents. They need to go back to that program that worked so well, kids learned and got the help they needed and no stigma!
Patty Schumacher January 27, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Dear Concerned Mom - I refer you to a Yahoo article on Jon Kitna http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl--former-nfl-qb-jon-kitna-finds-%E2%80%98gold-mine%E2%80%99-at-a-school-where-other-teachers-only-saw-problems-194739063.html.."The players told of homes without parents. They said nobody in the house asked to see their homework. They talked of barely existing at all. They said the only place anyone seemed to care was at school"...and this..."It was tearful to hear kids say: ‘My parents when I am doing my homework tell me to stop doing my homework and go sell drugs"... Obviously I was talking about irresponsible parents but if a situation's circumstances are so overwhelming even a responsible parent may need some guidance to resources outside the home which social services could provide. I have shared your experience with an uncooperative student. One I was able to turn around just by sheer persistance. The other was with the custodial parent who was not interested in her child going to school, did not attend conferences, and was indiferent to the fact he was being socially promoted through the grades. He dropped out at 16 and has never acquired his HS Diploma or GED. Your description of the Sumner program, its success and demise, reflects the fatal "onesizefitsall" flaw of public schools. It could be that Charter Schools will provide a viable option to traditional education. In the mean time, hang in there with your kids. I do wish you well.
Patty Schumacher January 27, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Dear Concerned Mom - I refer you to a Yahoo article on Jon Kitna http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl--former-nfl-qb-jon-kitna-finds-%E2%80%98gold-mine%E2%80%99-at-a-school-where-other-teachers-only-saw-problems-194739063.html.."The players told of homes without parents. They said nobody in the house asked to see their homework. They talked of barely existing at all. They said the only place anyone seemed to care was at school"...and this..."It was tearful to hear kids say: ‘My parents when I am doing my homework tell me to stop doing my homework and go sell drugs"... Obviously I was talking about irresponsible parents but if a situation's circumstances are so overwhelming even a responsible parent may need some guidance to resources outside the home which social services could provide. I have shared your experience with an uncooperative student. One I was able to turn around just by sheer persistance. The other was with the custodial parent who was not interested in her child going to school, did not attend conferences, and was indiferent to the fact he was being socially promoted through the grades. He dropped out at 16 and has never acquired his HS Diploma or GED. Your description of the Sumner program, its success and demise, reflects the fatal "onesizefitsall" flaw of public schools. It could be that Charter Schools will provide a viable option to traditional education. In the mean time, hang in there with your kids. I do wish you well.
Ken Jones January 28, 2013 at 09:52 AM
I'm tired of reading and listening to the verbose political spin of politicians. In 3rd grade, if Johnny can't read @ the 3rd grade level, then three entities have failed in their responsibility: the school system, the teachers and the parents. The teachers can identify the problem long before 3rd grade. The school system can design and implement a corrective course of action (mandatory remedial summer school) to resolve the problem before 3rd grade. In the summer, the parents can drop the kid at school before work and pick 'em up after work before 4th grade. Before everyone start noting the obvious financial challenges for everyone, I have one thing to note: I pay taxes so, amongst other things, children can be read, write and do math by the time they graduate from high school! Am I paying taxes for a system that's failing? I'm tired of read how difficult it'll be or how much it'll cost. When the system isn't working then smart people (not greedy people) fix the system.
shawn January 30, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Im a parent of a third grader right now reading below grade level. We have hired a personal tutor and we help her. However she was a young kindergartner so I feel that it would have been better to have waited a year then sent her to kindergarten. However my husband and i have discussed and we have decided to have her reading scores after summer and if she is still behind in her skills we may hold her back in third grade next year.

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