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Flint Literacy Network supports the repeal on Michigan's third grade reading law

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Angela Hood Director of the Flint Literacy Network says the repeal is just a first step in moving forward

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The state of Michigan is one step closer to getting rid of a controversial law that required students who struggled in reading to repeat the third grade.

Statistically, children learn to read up until the 3rd grade and then from 3rd grade on, they read to learn.

The director of the Flint and Genesee Literacy Network is applauding the action by the legislature adding that more work needs to be done for students.

"The third grade reading law in Michigan in particular has said that not only are we not going to pass these children but there has to be some remedies in place," said Angela Hood, director of Flint Literacy Network.

A repeal of the 2016 reading law would eliminate a policy that bases a student's promotion to the fourth grade on their reading assessment scores.

It would remove retention provisions and allow districts to get more support for literacy efforts.

"Well in 2020 the pandemic hit so there were many children who could have technically been held back but weren't because schools were in an uproar," Hood said.

Angela Hood Director of the Flint Literacy Network says post-COVID there has been a disproportionate impact for most students.

"We're seeing where the students that are being held back, are low income students or students of color disproportionately held back as oppose to their counterparts," she said.

Hood says the repeal of the third grade reading law is only the first step.

"I am glad that the retaining portion has been repealed but also want to advocate for those supports," she said. "It's not enough that we're not going to hold children back but what are we going to do with the children that we know are not proficient - so that puts an emphasis on the reading interventions."

Interventions that she says starts at home.

"We're not looking for schools to fix this by themselves and it doesn't rest with administrators - this is a community wide concern," said Hood.

The legislation passed the Senate last month and the House on Tuesday.

It now moves to the Governor's desk for her signature.

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