Jenny DeMonte

ACLU Sues Michigan Over Poor Educational Outcomes

The research is irrefutable: Children who don’t learn to read proficiently by the third grade face nearly insurmountable challenges not only in their next decade of schooling but also into their adult lives. The mounting evidence clearly linking the ability to read well in the early grades to future success has, over the past few years, prompted a number of states to consider and enact legislation to require the retention of students who cannot read at grade level in the third grade and the intervention of special instruction and support to raise their reading achievement. Earlier this year, Arizona enacted a new law requiring any student not proficient in reading at the end of the third grade, as measured by the state reading test, to be retained in the third grade (though there are exceptions for English language learners and students with disabilities). For the most part, the new laws addressing reading proficiency target the third grade as the make-or-break year for reading, though some laws specify remediation in the fourth or fifth grades.

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