What is going on in our Michigan K-12 educational system which produces just 50% of third-graders who could pass the English language arts exam, covering reading and writing, on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting on this issue and the Michigan legislature's House and Senate attempt to address not the issue of why this is occurring but how to address the symptom of this inadequacy.

We all know that reading proficiency in the third grade is crucial for a student's academic success throughout their life, which means this is a very important issue that needs to be carefully evaluated.

Last October the Michigan House passed a bill that requires mandatory retention of third-graders who are more than a grade level behind in reading. Sounds reasonable to me, how about you?

Michigan's Senate passed their version of the bill in March which would allow parents, as well as a student’s principal and reading teacher, to request an exemption.

Right now Michigan leaves it up to the individual school districts to make the decision whether to hold back third-graders for lack of reading skills.

The bill is now in conference to attempt to work out their differences between the House and Senate versions. A third option they are looking at is how the state of Oklahoma is addressing this issue.

Oklahoma also has a strict law requiring third-graders who aren't reading at grade level to repeat the grade. How are they handling their poor reading and retention issue? Their law allows schools to have a "team that includes the child’s parents, teachers and a reading specialist to evaluate whether the student should receive a probationary promotion to the fourth grade — a decision that would have to be approved by the principal or superintendent".

I understand what they are trying to do but why are they not addressing the really problem and not only a symptom?

The real problem being the fact that our educational system is only producing approximately 50% of third graders who can read proficiently at a third grade level.

Let’s talk about this tomorrow (Monday) on The Live with Renk Show which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.

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