LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. John Damoose voted against an effort to repeal the retention requirement within the state’s “Read by Grade Three” law on Wednesday.
“This was a somewhat difficult vote to cast,” said Damoose, R-Harbor Springs. “I’m not in favor of holding kids back, and I am aware of the implications it can have. However with test scores the way they are and kids still struggling in the wake of COVID-related shutdowns, now is not the time to be pursuing measures that weaken standards and reduce accountability.”
Senate Bill 12 would amend the state’s current law aimed at ensuring students are proficient in reading by the third grade. SB 12 would remove the retention requirement that provides guidelines for holding back a student who is considered to be behind in reading skills for their age.
Third grade is often considered an important benchmark for literary development and data suggests this milestone is a helpful indicator in predicting a student’s academic progress and even success later in life.
Damoose offered an amendment to the legislation in an effort to strengthen academic interventions for students who fall behind. Damoose’s amendment would go beyond language included in the proposed legislation and maintain critical intervention until a student is reading proficiently.
“My amendment would have ensured that students who are not proficient at reading by the third grade receive effective support services and made sure students don’t fall through the cracks and get further and further behind their peers,” Damoose said. “Making sure students who are struggling get the help they need is something schools should already be doing. This is a basic level of due diligence that helps students who need a little extra help get back on track.”
SB 12 was approved by the Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.