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MI Senate Bill Would Eliminate Third Grade Retention Mandate

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Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) is sponsoring a bill that would eliminate the mandate that third graders who fail to score proficiently in English Language Arts on the 2020 M-STEP be held back the next school year.

A new bill in the Michigan Senate would eliminate the requirement that all third graders who fail the reading portion of the 2020 M-STEP test be held back. 


Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) is vice chair of the Senate Education Committee and a former teacher. 


She says under the current law, as many as 5,000 students could be retained if they fail to achieve reading proficiency on next May’s M-STEP test. 


Polehanki says her bill would scrap the retention mandate, but maintain things like literacy coaches and reading intervention plans.


“If we keep these in place, that’s the teeth of the bill,” she says.  “I don’t think we need to scare everyone into learning how to read.  It’s not going to work.”


Polehanki says most of her Democratic colleagues in the Senate support her bill. 


Now she says the next step is to get it to a committee hearing.





Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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