Third graders who lag in reading could be held back under bill approved by Michigan House

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan third-graders couldn’t advance to the fourth grade if they lag behind on state reading tests, unless they qualify for an exemption, under literacy legislation approved Wednesday by the House.

The controversial “retention” provision would take effect for the 2019-20 school year and after. Kids would get extra reading help but couldn’t enroll in fourth grade unless their reading score is less than one grade level behind, they show proficiency through an alternative state assessment or demonstrate mastery through work samples.

Some students could still move to fourth grade for “good cause” — learning disabilities, English is their second language or they have been previously held back despite receiving intensive reading help.

The Republican-controlled House approved the bill 57-48, mostly along party lines. It goes the Senate for its consideration.

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