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Senate Education Committee Explores Revisions To Oklahoma's Reading Sufficiency Act

child reading
John Morgan
Flickr Creative Commons

Members of the Senate Education Committee looked into various aspects of the Reading Sufficiency Act including its impact on English language learners and students on an individualized education plan Wednesday during a combination of legislative studies.

“The earlier in a student’s life we can identify if they are starting to fall behind, that’s an advantage to that child,” said Chairman John Ford, R-Bartlesville. “One of the main reasons for the Reading Sufficiency Act is to avoid social promotion.”

Ford said his intent in evaluating the act is to look at the six good cause exemptions and identify if they are appropriate and if they are in need of modification this upcoming legislative session.

“What we’re trying to balance in legislation and in rules is how to keep an appropriate amount of emphasis on school districts to continue pushing the bar in the best way to possible to identify young students to progress in their education and into the workforce. We must also look at what point we are being punitive.”

Last year was the first time the Reading Sufficiency Act required third graders to be held back if they scored Unsatisfactory on the statewide reading test, but there was a legislative tweak this year that allowed a team of parents and teachers to determine whether the student should be promoted.

Tulsa Public Schools chief academic officer Tracy Bales told the panel she’d like to see that probationary promotion extended and maintained, and also recommended establishing new guidelines for students with limited English skills.

An Oklahoma-based company with corporate headquarters located in Oklahoma City, eCapitol launched as an online capitol news and information business in the early 1990's. eCapitol provides on-the-ground, politically-neutral reporting of capitol activity.
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