OK Parents Of Students Who Did Not Pass Reading Test Speak Out

Monday, May 12th 2014, 6:42 pm

On the same day parents found out if their third grader passed the state reading test that allows them to move on to fourth grade, the Oklahoma House voted to amend the law.

This is the first year of retaining students because of the test and the policy has received a lot of resistance. Late Monday afternoon the House voted 83-11 to put the decision back into the hands of educators and parents.

Eric Thompson and his wife found out Monday morning their third grade daughter didn't pass the test.

"We found out she missed it by two points," they said.

They've had her in private tutoring and therapy for years but developmental delays means she learns slower. They don't believe another year of focused reading instruction will help.

"It won't affect her, it won't help her learn, it will just delay her education process."

"It is across the board a bad policy for kids and for schools and for teachers," said Dan Vincent, Professor of Elementary Education and a parent. He is so adamantly against the test this year he didn't allow his third grade son to take it.

"The research is pretty clear on this, if you retain kids in elementary school for a reading problem there is a high likelihood they are going to drop out of school or you're going to make things worse for that child," said Vincent.

But State Superintendent Janet Barresi says that research is old. And this model has worked in Florida to reduce dropout rates and increase literacy.

"We have had an illiteracy rate in this state of between 30 and 36 percent for 10 years," said Barresi who argues something needs to change. "A child that fails this test can't read and comprehend Dr. Seuss but we're telling them to go to 4th grade and read and comprehend Little House on the Prairie."

The house vote on Monday would put the decision on promoting third graders back into the hands of parents and educators. But the Governor still has to sign it.