In Blog: Factually Speaking, Budget Priorities

Now that the state budget is back on the fast track, it is important to focus on the basics, including reading, writing and arithmetic. The most recent testing results for Michigan students show only a small increase in third-grade reading proficiency—a concern as Michigan moves into the first year of potential retentions of third-graders who are more than a full year behind in reading.

When Michigan’s Read by Grade Three law was adopted, its promise was an infusion of resources to ensure that children were given what they need to read—starting early before children reach the schoolhouse doors. That promise has not been fully realized, so the hammer of retention in third grade is upon us, even though there is little evidence that retention benefits children in the long run.

The Michigan Legislature has the opportunity to begin to fill the funding gaps as it works to finalize the state budget, including:

Children’s ability to read and succeed in school and beyond is inextricably tied to their circumstances from birth, with children from families living in poverty and children of color facing numerous barriers to educational success. The League urges the Legislature to focus educational resources—from very early in childhood through graduation from high school and beyond—in ways that increase equity.

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high school students taking part in group discussion