September 6, 2013
Flunked, retained, held back. Whatever you call it, increasing numbers of states are not promoting students who are struggling to read at the end of third grade.
Thirty-two states have passed legislation designed to improve third-grade literacy, according to the Education Commission of the States. Retention is part of the policies in 14 states, with some offering more leeway than others.
"Passing children up the grade ladder when we know they can't read is irresponsible – and cruel," said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in announcing in his recent State of the State address that third-graders should demonstrate an ability to read before being promoted. He also proposed a $12 million program for improving third-graders' reading skills.