MSU report finds disparities in implementation of MI third grade literacy law


A student works on a math book in a school classroom (Nexstar, file)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A new report conducted by Michigan State University has found that Michigan school districts aimed to only retain 229 students this school year out of 3,000 eligible ones based on low reading scores outlined under Michigan’s Read By Grade Three law.

The Read By Grade Three law says that a student who reads below more than 1-grade level must receive special assistance.

“As state lawmakers continue to debate whether and how to amend the Read by Grade Three law, they will need to pay attention to the ways in which the law is implemented and potential consequences for certain populations of Michigan students,” said Katharine Strunk, Clifford E. Erickson Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and faculty director of MSU’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative [EPIC.]

The law allows students to bypass the requirements if they have “good cause exemptions,” such as English learners with fewer than three years of English language instruction; students with IEP/Section 504 Plan, students who were previously retained and received intensive reading interventions for two or more years and students who have been enrolled in their current district for less than two years and were not provided with an appropriate individual reading improvement plan.

The MSU report found that more than 75% of districts with eligible students intended to promote all of their students.

60% of promotions were done at parents’ request.

The full report can be read here.

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