The Washington Post is convening three governors (NM, DE, MS) and several State School Superintendents to talk this morning about third grade reading scores. That indicator may get more attention in Michigan now that there is a plan for expanding early education.
High quality preschool is linked to better third grade reading scores. And third grade scores are very accurate predictors of high school graduation.
Now that the state budget seems to insure that more kids in Michigan will have access to high quality preschool, the state will need to focus on third grade outcomes to judge, in part, its investment.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, of Kids Count fame, is funding the panel as part of what is being called the Campaign for Third Grade Reading. The foundation also put out a special Kids Count data book on third grade reading scores.
All across the country, it's not pretty. A full 68 % of kids in fourth grade are below reading level nationwide. Michigan has 70% falling behind by fourth grade.