Bill would require third graders to meet reading benchmarks

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama could become the next state to require third graders to pass a reading benchmark before moving to fourth grade.

The House Education Policy Committee on Wednesday approved the legislation by Republican Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur. The bill now moves to the House floor.

Collins said the goal is to make sure students read at or above grade level by the end of third grade.

The bill spells out a number of initiatives, including providing extra help to struggling students through a reading specialist and other measures.

It would take effect for students in the 2021-22 school year.

Opponents expressed concern about funding and the requirement to hold students back.

Collins said the retention component is “the part that makes it work.”