A Kentucky lawmaker is considering introducing legislation that would hold back third-graders who don’t meet the benchmark for reading.
That’s the grade by which some experts have decided reading needs to be mastered.
The law–in draft form–is similar to those in over a dozen other states. According to an article in Time Magazine, 13 states adopted legislation in 2012 that would intervene in third grade if students were identified as poor readers. Fourteen states have laws that actually hold back students who don’t reach the benchmark in reading.
In Kentucky, around a third of high school students are not proficient in reading according to the state’s assessment and results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress–which measures 4th and 8th grade students–show similar results.
Rep.Joni Jenkins, D-44, works with community college students, many who struggle with reading skills. So, she’s looking to states like Ohio that have legislation in place targeting third-graders.
But because many believe holding a student back is not beneficial, Jenkins is considering all options before filing any bill.
“I’ve heard from some folks that say holding a child back is really detrimental, so I want to think about that. And it might be that they’re tested at the end of second grade and then go onto the third grade but with very, very intensive reading invention at that point,” she said.
Jenkins is considering the idea of starting interventions in the second grade, while many bills target third graders.
“That gives us one year to bring them up to par with intensive interventions and hopefully that sets them on a course following their third grade,” she said.
Jenkins said she knows the law may not be popular but she hopes it will at least begin a conversation.