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2019 brings new hurdle for Michigan's third graders

Flint school lockers
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio

Michigan’s third graders will need to meet a new reading standard in 2019.

But there is concern the state’s educational system isn’t ready.

Under the Read by Third Grade law, a student’s performance on the state English language arts assessment will help determineif they will be promoted to fourth grade.

The law, passed in 2015, takes effect with next fall’s third graders.

Doug Pratt is with the Michigan Education Association. He says teachers are concerned the state is not spending enough to help students who fall short.

“Particularly in an environment where it’s already difficult because of the teacher shortage to fill some of these positions,” says Pratt. “To the Legislature’s credit, there was money appropriated for this, but it’s not enough. This is a labor intensive problem.”

The state education department is working on a strategy on how to identify students at risk of being held back and plans to come up with a process for doing so in the next several months.

The law allows school officials to promote some under-performing students for “good cause” if the students are performing well in other areas.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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