Saturday, February 13, 2010

SB 150 - Holding Back Your 1st Grader

Senator Karen Morgan introduced SB 150 - Reading Requirements for Student Advancement. It "requires that students in first, second, and third grades read at or above grade level prior to advancing to the next grade, with certain exceptions."

The focus of SB150 is to force students, parents, and teachers to ensure students can read at their class level. The goal is not to hold them back a grade, it's to threaten it so that everyone involved takes reading more seriously. Which may sound great in theory, but I think there are a number of possible unintended consequences to this policy.

The fiscal note says that if students are kept back that would add another child to the system for another year, thereby increasing costs. Sen. Morgan said that 20% of students leaving third grade don't read at grade level. If even half of those are held back, that increases our student population by 10%. In a state where we already have a student overpopulation problem, with its attending cost issues and class size problems, this policy doesn't seem like a good idea.

I would much rather see our efforts going toward lowering class sizes in grades 1-3 because that has shown to have the greatest effect on student achievement. With smaller class sizes, students in those grades would not only increase their reading ability but would show improvement across the board.


J. Doug said...

I think that your concern is noted, but won't be as big of a problem as you've noted in the blog post. I feel strongly that Karen Morgan is right on this one. She is a former school teacher-- isn't she?

Kids are getting passed from level to level with not much concern by parents. I think that this may be a good motivation to push parents, and teachers in some cases, to move forward with educating their children and bringing them up to grade level. Additionally, it will push for proper examination of why a child isn't at grade level.

オテモヤン said...
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Cameron said...
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Cameron said...

How many of the 20% do you think will get flunked?

I also think this is something better done on a local school level.