Fix Michigan’s third-grade reading law

State Senator and Senate Education Committee Chair Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and State Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights) – both longtime educators currently serving in the state Legislature – have introduced legislation to eliminate the retention requirement from Michigan’s third-grade reading law. Passed in 2016, this law requires third-graders to be held back if they score below grade level on a high-stakes standardized reading test.

We shouldn’t hold students back based on the results of a single standardized test score. Research has shown that holding students back does not generally improve their long-term reading proficiency and makes them less likely to graduate high school with a standard diploma. Moreover, retention can have a profound psychological impact on kids that can last a lifetime.

Instead of retention, we need state leaders to invest in real interventions to help students read, such as:

  • Providing schools with greater means to hire literacy coaches and reading specialists.
  • Reducing class sizes to increase individual student attention.
  • Delivering more resources and professional development to help educators meet student reading needs.
  • Facilitating additional individual support and reading plans – both at school and at home – for students who need extra help.

Lawmakers need to hear from you.

Please get in touch with your state senator and representative and urge them to vote to repeal third-grade reading retention and support meaningful reading interventions to help our kids grow and thrive. Be sure to customize your message with your thoughts and experiences.

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