Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Clark Jolley and Senate Education Chairman Sen. John Ford released the following statement today in response to concerns regarding third grade retention legislation.
"The ability to read is one of the greatest indicators of long-term academic success and is critically important to ensure our students are prepared for work in the 21st century global economy. That was our motivation behind legislation that works to ensure third-graders can read at grade level before advancing to the next grade," said Ford, R-Bartlesville. "While we strive for the goal of seeing all Oklahoma students have the ability to read at grade level, we understand some students have learning challenges making that difficult to achieve across the board and it was not our intent to hinder the progress of students with learning disabilities."
"The law was written in such a way so parents are notified as soon as possible—some as early as kindergarten—of any students who are at risk of being retained so we can work with them to prevent retention. This is not meant to punish students, but to instead help them improve their reading skills, which we hope leads to continued academic success," said Jolley, R-Edmond. "As the next legislature approaches and before any decisions are made on retention, we will continue listening to parents and teachers who are raising valid concerns and work to make sure our law is written in such a way that promotes the best policy to ensure academic success and helps all students reach their true potential."