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Lawmakers nix reading retention plan from K-12 policy bill

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: May 23, 2011 - 9:19 PM

The House and Senate voted to send Gov. Mark Dayton a K-12 policy bill Tuesday night that no longer includes a provision to hold back third-graders who are struggling with reading.

The original policy bill in the House would have kept third-graders from advancing to fourth grade if they cannot demonstrate grade-level proficiency. Parents would still have been able to override that by signing a form.

The provision was lost when lawmakers reconciled the House and Senate bills in conference committee.

The language, authored by Rep. Pam Myhra, drew criticism from DFL legislators and the state's teachers union. It would have represented a rare (and likely the only) state mandate for districts to hold back certain students. 

"From kindergarten through third grade, a child is learning how to read," Myhra, R-Burnsville, said earlier this month. "But after that, starting in fourth grade, they are using reading to learn. So it is very important that we have that backstop there to keep children from moving forward."

The House passed the policy bill 73-59. The Senate passed it 38-27.

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