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Kansas looks at retention for 3rd grade students - KOAM TV 7

Kansas looks at retention for 3rd grade students struggling to read

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A Kansas lawmaker is considering proposing legislation requiring schools to hold back third grade students who still struggle to read.  The Education Commission of the States reports 14 states and the District of Columbia now require 3rd graders to read at a certain level before being promoted to 4th grade.

The superintendent for Pittsburg USD 250, Destry Brown, says retention can work, but he says third grade is too soon.

Brown says instead of holding back third graders, there should be interventions like work with student aids on reading skills.  He would also like to see a boost in funding for all day kindergarten and early childhood programs to reach kids at the most critical time for learning to read.

Last year the Pittsburg school district implemented its own policy to retain middle school students if they're failing core classes.  Brown last year 25% of students were failing at the middle school.

"Most of it is because of a lack of turning in work," says Brown.  "Of those 25%, probably 98% of those were because they weren't handing in any work."

Brown says the retention policy proved to be a motivator at the middle school.

"If a student is failing core subject areas they have the opportunity they can go to summer school, they can go to after school, they can do some recovery of their grades," says Brown. 

Only two sixth grade students were retained, and one of those is now getting all A's and working hard to possibly be placed back with classmates.

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