New Law Eliminates Third-Grade Reading Retention Requirement

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a bill into law that eliminates Michigan’s mandatory third-grade reading retention requirement.

The law amends Michigan’s “Read by Grade Three” law to delete provisions prohibiting the promotion of a pupil to grade 4 unless the student demonstrated a satisfactory reading score, or otherwise demonstrated a grade 3 reading level.

Even though the law eliminates the state-mandated retention piece, it does not affect the parts of the “Read by Grade Three” law that provides coaching, professional development, and interventions for struggling readers beginning in kindergarten. Since the law’s passage in 2016, those parts of the law have produced increased English Language Arts achievement, before the grade retention part of the law was later added.

In addition, the amendment allows for the following:

  • Deletes provisions prohibiting a school district superintendent or Public School Academy (PSA) chief administrator from allowing a child under 10 years old to enroll in grade 4 unless he or she demonstrated a satisfactory reading score, or otherwise demonstrated a grade 3 reading level;
  • Modifies a requirement that a school district or PSA provide a reading intervention program that was intended to correct a student’s reading deficiency;
  • Changes a requirement that the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI) notify a pupil’s parent or legal guardian and school district if that pupil has a reading deficiency;
  • Deletes provisions specifying reasons and procedure for granting a good cause exemption from grade 3 promotion and retention requirements;
  • Requires a school district or PSA to provide intensive reading intervention to a pupil who had a reading deficiency beyond grade 4 and until the pupil no longer has a reading deficiency; and
  • Deletes a provision requiring a school district or PSA to submit a retention report to a CEPI.

Help is available

The municipal attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to assist school districts with legal matters. For more information, call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Municipal