Retention of third graders based on IREAD-3
For a legislative session that the supermajority promised would be short and sweet – and non controversial – we are finding some bills quite sour and we must yet again prepare to battle for our kids and the schools they deserve.
Despite research to the contrary, the legislature seems to be targeting our 8 year-old Hoosier students with a bill that, among other things, seeks to exact the harsh punishment of retention more readily on their vulnerable heads. After passing the Science of Reading bill last year, which purported to ensure better teaching methods and better literacy, why is the legislature preparing to punish our kids by raising the stakes on the IREAD-3?
Much has been written about the effects of retention on students and the long term harm that comes from it. If you hold back struggling readers in third grade, of course your reading scores will look better in the fourth grade! But we also see the research that is linked to high school dropout rates, mental health and bullying, and the disproportionate ways that this affects our students in poverty, students of color, and students in special education. The Indiana American Academy of Pediatrics has identified repeating a grade as an Adverse Childhood Experience (or ACE) and recommends that children get evaluations and academic support instead. Recognizing the research on retention, thehe state of Michigan recently rolled back this punitive law, freeing children from this high-stakes test. Why is Indiana doubling down?
ICPE supports many aspects of SB 1. Give schools the funding to provide resources and remediation to the children who need it. Provide schools and teachers with the tools and funding they need to implement best practices, those instructional approaches that are research based. We recognize the importance of high quality preschool for children as prevention for reading and academic issues later on. ICPE also believes that these decisions are deeply important and should be made by the experts: kids’ teachers in cooperation with the families. A child is a complex human being and not one-size-fits-all when it comes to their development. Let the decisions be made closest to the child.
Please contact the Senate Education and Career Development Committee and tell them to remove the retention language from this bill. Invest in best practices and implementation of reading instruction with appropriate consultation with families as part of the plan. Children should not be punished for struggling to read—they should be supported and given what they need.
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Senate Education and Career Development Committee
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