Parents of Oklahoma students who fail a third-grade reading test would be given alternatives to having their children held back under two bills approved Monday by the state House Common Education Committee.
An upcoming third-grade reading test has created a public furor because of concerns that hundreds of students will be held back for reading below grade level. Oklahoma City school district officials have indicated nearly one in four of their third-graders are reading below grade level and are in danger of being held back.
House Bill 2625 promoted by state Reps. Katie Henke, R-Tulsa, and Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, would prohibit a student from being retained based solely on their performance on one test, Casey said.
Under the bill, if a student fails the third-grade reading test, a team made up of a parent or guardian, a teacher, the school’s principal and a certified reading specialist, if the school has one, would meet to decide if retention was in the best interest of the student.
Intensive reading instruction and support would be made available both to students who are retained and those who are promoted to the next grade.
“Additional flexibility is needed,” Casey said. “Children aren’t all the same.”