NPR

States Are Ratcheting Up Reading Expectations For 3rd-Graders

Almost 20 states have passed laws requiring third-graders who aren't proficient in reading to repeat the grade. The policy started in Florida 17 years ago.
Nineteen states have adopted "mandatory retention" policies, which require third-graders who do not show sufficient proficiency in reading to repeat the grade. Source: Larry W. Smith

Changes in education policy often emanate from the federal government. Think Common Core, the set of standards established in 2010 for what U.S. students should know. But one policy that has spread across the country came not from Washington, D.C., but from Florida. "Mandatory retention" requires that third-graders who do not show sufficient proficiency in reading repeat the grade. It was part of a broader packet of reforms proposed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002.

Now 19 states have adopted the policy, in part because Bush has pushed hard for it., don't graduate from high school on time. That rate is four times greater than that of proficient readers.

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