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Education

Bill to bolster third grade reading clears state House panel

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

A bipartisan bill meant to strengthen reading skills by the third grade has cleared a state House committee.

New language in House Bill 4822 encourages schools to adopt summer reading camps for students who fall behind.

Supporters say the legislation would set strong new benchmarks for third grade reading.

"I hope that it kind of builds up from the ground base a stronger structure of reading instruction in Michigan,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Amanda Price (R-Park Twp.), who also chairs the state House Education Committee.

Some Republicans, however, are not on board with the legislation. They say it should be up to local districts – not the state – to decide how to help those students.

“It completely ignores the fact that not every school has a problem,” said state Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan).

McBroom says he’s also opposed to a provision that would force schools to hold back some students.

“We’re going to penalize the student? What if the student is behind because of other things going on? What if that year was a victory for them just being able to make it to school and get as much progress as they did make?” he said.

The bill differs from similar legislation last year, which would have required schools to hold back all third graders who fail a state reading test. The new bill allows students to retake reading tests and advance to fourth grade if they’re doing well in other academic areas.

Here’s a link to the bill – http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2015-HB-4822