Bill Would Make Third Graders Repeat Grade For Poor Reading

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A proposed bill at the state house would hold third graders back if they're not reading on their grade level.

"If they don't know how to read, that's crippling if you don't know how to read," said Richland County District One, Deputy Superintendent Debra Brathwaite.

Richland County School District One is against the bill. Brathwaite says holding back a student could negatively affect the student.

"We believe in providing students with intervention because you can improve student outcome with the appropriate intervention, there are a lot of reasons why a student may not be reading on grade level and retaining them in that grade does not insure that they are going to improve in reading."

Brathwaite says the district sees students that enter kindergarten who are already one or two years behind when it comes to reading.

She believes it takes a team effort both in the home and using other tools to help a student improve.

"A longer day, one to one tutoring, software based programs, you can move students so that they are or above grade level."

"This is a bipartisan effort, this is not about anyone's election, this is about getting it right for South Carolina children," said Richland County Senator John Scott.

Richland County Senator John Scott supports the bill but he thinks some amendments will be needed for it to pass.

Last year the senate was able to provide extra funding for pre-k education...he says the bill needs to focus on stopping the problem before third grade.

"By the time the child moves from the first grade to the second grade that child is already writing paragraphs and being very descriptive in terms of things that they see and know and being able to put it in writing," said Scott.

Scott says that 3rd grade should be a test phase to show the skills that the student learned from pre-k to 2nd grade.

He is questioning if retaining a student in the third grade is the right decision for the wellbeing of the student.

"I am just concerned about holding a child back and what that means and actually says to the child because I don't want to discourage the child, let's fix these problems on the front end."

The bill will be up for debate Tuesday at the state house.


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