Several studies have shown that students who cannot read by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Armed with that statistic, lawmakers in six states have recently drawn the line at third grade — telling students that if they cannot pass the state reading test, they cannot be promoted.
These states have now joined eight others with similar laws. To many front line educators, however, holding students back is a cure worse than the disease.
In this PBS NewsHour report, producers John Tulenko and David Wald sort out the facts about grade retention — which disproportionately impacts disadvantaged students — by taking viewers to schools in Ohio where a third grade retention policy has just taken effect.
This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
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