The Democratic package would not use standardized test scores this year to evaluate teachers or enforce Michigan’s third-grade reading law in recognition of the disruptions caused by the pandemic. It’s unclear if Republicans will give the bills a hearing.
Michigan’s efforts to boost third-grade reading skills took a hit during the pandemic, with teachers reporting less time to provide targeted support to struggling readers, particularly more vulnerable readers, an MSU report found.
African-American and low-income third-graders were far more likely to be flagged for possible retention due to low reading test scores than their white or non-poor classmates. How many students are actually being held back remains unclear.
The families of almost 3,500 Michigan third-graders received letters recommending they be held back in grade because they scored poorly on a reading test. The actual number who flunk is likely to be much less than that.
If passed, the Republican bill could impact thousands of additional students across two grades next year. Critics say expanding the controversial law is a mistake, given the disruption to learning among all grade levels during the pandemic.
"Flunking a student is immediately traumatic and is more likely to be experienced by those students who are categorized as poor, male and/or minority," the group of Upper Peninsula school superintendents writes.
Want to solve Michigan’s teacher shortage? A new report skips policymakers and asks the state’s teachers what they would do. More class support and financial incentives to new teachers would help, they say.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in her second State of the State, says she’ll work around recalcitrant Republicans to fix roads, maintain Affordable Care Act protections and ensure students don’t repeat the third grade because of the reading law.
An estimated 5,000 students could be flagged to repeat third grade because of low reading scores. In her State of the State address, Whitmer will unveil a plan designed to help parents get around the Republican-backed law.
Michigan’s Read by Grade 3 Law isn’t some scary new policy looming over local students – it’s an essential reform that’s already yielding real results that benefit our kids, says the author of this Guest Commentary.