Senator Karen Morgan is sponsoring Senate Bill 150, “Reading Requirements for Student Advancement.” She presented her bill this morning in the Senate Education Committee where it passed unanimously. Startling statistics emphasize the need for a minimum standard for reading achievement in the early elementary grades. Twenty percent of students cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade. More than 15% of students drop out of school between the 9th and 12th grades.
Morgan’s bill requires students in first, second and third grades to read at or above grade level prior to advancing to the next grade, with certain exceptions. She stated, “Children learn to read in first, second and third grades. After third grade, they read to learn. A child must have basic reading skills in order to be successful as they move into the upper grades, and this bill will help to ensure that each child receives the help necessary to develop this vital skill.”
SB 150 requires schools to provide information to parents at the beginning of the school regarding this standard for grade advancement, to notify a student and the student’s parent or guardian before the middle of the school year if there is any possibility the student may not qualify for promotion, and to provide focused remediation to provide the help the student needs to achieve grade level.
SB 150 includes exceptions for students with disabilities and also allows a principal to provide an exemption and advance a student if the principal deems it to be in the best interest of the student. A child has until August 15th to meet the standard and qualify for advancement to the next grade.