Ohio Gov. John Kasich wanted Ohio to require third graders to pass a state reading test in order to be promoted to fourth grade. The lawmakers on the state Senate Education Committee thought otherwise.
Among the changes made:
- Delaying the bill’s implementation date. The original bill called for third graders in 2012-13 to be held back if they couldn’t read well enough. The senate committee pushed that requirement forward to first affect third graders in 2013-14.
- Lowering the test score students would need to reach on the state test in order to be considered reading on grade level and ready to move on to fourth grade.
- Providing additional exemptions that allow third graders not reading on grade level to advance to fourth grade. The original legislation included exemptions for special education students and students learning English. The amended version includes another exemption for students to allow third graders who have already been held back (and received tutoring) to be promoted. It also says that third graders who don’t score high enough on the state test can still be promoted by their school’s principal.
- Eliminating the requirement that struggling readers attend summer school.
- Setting aside $13 million in one-time grant funding to help schools
The Senate is expected to approve the revised bill this afternoon and send it to the House.
Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner told Gongwer News Service that she wasn’t wasn’t necessarily satisfied with the revised bill:
“I think they have to be proficient, and I’m not sure that I’m satisfied where we have ended up with this at this point,” Ms. Lehner said. “I think that’s a point that the governor and I are very much in agreement, and I think that should be looked at a little further.”
And, in a press release sent out in advance of the Education Committee vote, Kasich said he was “troubled” by the changes:
The legislation being considered in the Senate would let principals promote kids even if they’re struggling with reading, micromanage how struggling readers are helped, strip parents of the chance to seek outside reading help for their kids and simply lower reading standards.