Students who fail a third-grade reading test would be granted new options for promotion to the fourth grade under an amended bill approved late Monday by the Common Education Committee of the state House of Representatives.
Students would be allowed to appeal to the local school board if they can obtain the backing of their parent or guardian, teacher, principal and teaching specialist, if the school has one, under an amendment successfully presented to the committee by state Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs.
The students also would be eligible for promotion if they pass one of the screening tests leading up to the main reading test, under an amendment by state Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City.
Nelson said his amendment to Senate Bill 1971 is designed to offer relief to children who can read at the proper grade level, but happen to perform poorly on one test.
However, Nelson argued against Nollan’s amendment, saying it would provide an avenue for children who can’t read books like Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who!” to be promoted to the fourth grade where they would be expected to read books on the level of “Little House on the Prairie.”
“I just can’t understand how we would be doing anyone a favor,” he said.
Nollan contended educators at the local level are in a better position to determine whether a child should be promoted.
In other action, the House Common Education Committee:
•Approved Senate Bill 1790, designed to better protect children who incur concussions from suffering further injuries. The bill requires coaches, officials and referees to participate in annual concussion training sessions and requires injured athletes to be removed from practices or competitions.
•Passed Senate Bill 1654, which would eliminate a requirement that children take criterion-reference tests for social studies, geography, U.S. history and writing during grades three through eight. State Rep. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, said those particular tests are not required by the federal government and he was responding to complaints of too much testing.
The bills now will go to the full House for consideration.