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Indiana Statehouse

(Source: Eric Berman-WIBC)

STATEHOUSE--A bill that could impact as many as 14,000 families in Indiana is up for a final vote in the Statehouse. It would result in students needing to repeat third grade if they have not passed the state’s reading test.

All of the amendments that were brought up in the House this week did not pass. One of those proposed changes would have excluded students who are still learning English from being held back if they couldn’t pass the reading test. There was a separate amendment that said the retention part of the bill would not take effect until the 2025-26 school year.

As it stands now, the bill says students who fail the state’s reading test in 2nd or 3rd grade would be required to attend summer school to help.
It’s the possibility of holding back students that has some lawmakers upset.
“This is not the appropriate time to retain kids. If you want to retain kids, I understand we got to get them to learn to read. It’s a crisis, but it’s kindergarten or first grade,” said Democratic Representative Tonya Pfaff. Pfaff is a high school teacher.
Democratic Representative Ed Delaney of Indianapolis says a lot of factors go into it.
“Ultimately, it has to be a parental decision taken in concordance in discussion with the school officials with the teacher, the appropriate reading coaches, etcetera,” said Delaney on Monday.
Republican Representative Jake Teshka of North Liberty said Monday that by not holding back children who can’t read, we would be failing our students.
“In fact, this was a policy of the State of Indiana going back under Superintendent Tony Bennett, and a short time after we instituted that policy, it was a DOE policy, we saw a pretty significant rise in test scores. Unfortunately, when Superintendent Glenda Ritz came in did away with that policy, we have seen a precipitous drop since then,” said Teshka.
The bill was approved in the Senate. It is up for a final vote before the full House.