State Rep. Brian BeGole, of Antrim Township, this week voted against a Democrat plan to lower literacy requirements at elementary schools throughout Michigan.
Current law sets children throughout the state on a course for success. It requires an assessment of a child’s reading level, employs possible methods to address any deficiencies and gives parents updates on their child’s progress. The law is broadly supported by a coalition of teachers, parents and education experts and was enacted with this input in mind.
In addition, the retention aspect of the third-grade reading law has barely taken effect. But Democrats in majority are forging ahead as the state currently ranks 43rd out of 50 states in fourth-grade reading scores.
“Reading is a crucial skill kids should be focusing on from kindergarten through third grade. This is a pivotal time of their development,” BeGole said. “We can’t just turn our backs on young people who are experiencing reading challenges, funnel them through the education system and pretend this isn’t a problem.
“This bill also takes parents out of the conversation with a part of their child’s education, which is a big mistake.”
Republicans in the House have proposed multiple amendments as Senate Bill 12 moved through the legislative process, including ensuring parents and guardians are involved with intervention strategies for students who are not reading at their grade level after fourth grade and grants of up to $1,000 for tutoring and other services if a child is severely behind in reading proficiency. These changes, however, have been rejected by Democrat majority.
“March is Reading Month nationally, but here in Michigan we’re passing bills that de-emphasize its importance,” BeGole said.
The bill will go to the governor’s desk for consideration.
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