LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a bill that will make it easier for third graders to move on to the fourth grade.

Educational organizations like the Michigan Education Justice Coalition have called the passage a “win” for students.

The change to the law removes the mandate that requires third-graders to be held back if they are one grade or more behind in reading, based on standardized test results.

If retaining a child in third grade helped get students to improve their reading levels then educators would have been using that option as standard practice, but that just isn’t the case. But every educator knows that individualized support is the best way to ensure students catch up on their learning goals. If the legislature truly wants to help third graders then they’ll repeal the retention mandate in the reading law and follow that up by improving funding for learning intervention measures and do things like helping to reduce class sizes so that our kids can get more individualized instruction.”

Joanne Galloway, MEJC member

The Michigan Alliance for Student Opportunity expressed their gratitude for the House’s speed in voting on the bill.

We’re thankful for the quick action the legislature has taken on this critical issue. The data has shown that a one-size-fits-all approach to retention is not [a] sound education policy. The decision to retain a student should be made by parents, teachers, and local education professionals, not by heavy-handed state laws that disregard the needs of the student.

It’s a great day for Michigan students, parents, and teachers as the harmful red tape of Michigan’s failed third-grade retention law is finally pulled back. Michigan’s educators can now focus on ensuring our students have the best environment to excel in without burdensome regulations holding back student achievement.”  

Peter Spadafore, executive director of the Michigan Alliance for Student Opportunity