A letter I sent this evening to my State Senator and State Representative:
Dear Representative Kunze,
As you know, schools across Ohio are preparing for the challenge of the "3rd Grade Reading Guarantee" that will force retention of any 3rd grader who cannot pass a standardized reading test. While I question the validity of using such a method to assess a child, I would leave that issue for another time. What I would to ask you is why is Ohio choosing to do this when it has been demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that grade retention does not work any better than promotion to the next grade?
There is ample evidence both online and in scholarly publications (Please see here for guidance, should you not have read any of it.)
The money wasted on a strategy that has been proven ineffective could be much, much better spent on other solutions. For example, why not insist that schools spend the money on extended school-day programs for struggling readers, intensive summer school programs, smaller class sizes or hiring more reading specialists to work in the classrooms?
The idea that we will flunk children who cannot read well *sounds* good. It sounds like a logical course of action and satisfies our need to hold children and teachers accountable. Yes, the 3rd Grade Guarantee sounds very good. But it isn't, and you should know that.
Please, be a leader and insist that our state choose a course of action that actually IS good, and stands a chance at working, rather than one that flushes precious dollars down the drain for the sake of "sounding" good.