STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

A testing line in the the third grade

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Dustin Dwyer has unfolded himself from the tiny desks at Congress Elementary School in Grand Rapids. He's listening to hours of tape for our next documentary on high-stake testing in schools, which debuts in January.

In the meantime, we're keeping an eye on Michigan House Bills 5111 and 5144, also known as the "read-or-flunk" bills. The bills aim to identify students struggling with their reading skills as early as kindergarten. But the controversial bit of the proposal is this: if third graders do not pass at a reading proficient level, they'll be held back a year.

Dustin notes that at Congress, if the read-or-flunk rules were in place last year, 7 out of 30 students would have passed the reading proficiency test and moved from the third to the fourth grade. That's seven students making up the entire fourth grade. And is that really a class?

You can read more about the reactions to House Bills 51111 and 5144 in Bridge Magazine.