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OEA applauds State Board of Education members working to end mandatory retention under “Third Grade Reading Guarantee”

[November 16, 2022] The Ohio Education Association (OEA) has long advocated for changes to Ohio law to end the harmful practice of mandatory retention tied to high-stakes standardized testing for elementary schoolers. OEA applauds the State Board of Education for voting 18-1 to pass a resolution urging the General Assembly to eliminate the requirement that third-grade students who do not meet cut scores on the English language arts assessment must repeat that grade in most cases. The text of that resolution can be accessed here.

The State Board of Education’s resolution asks the Ohio Senate to pass House Bill 497, which the Ohio House passed with broad bipartisan support in June. The Ohio Senate must move forward on the bill and pass it by the end of the legislative session this year, or lawmakers will have to start from square one on it again in the next General Assembly.

“Our students cannot wait for Ohio lawmakers to do the right thing and end the harmful practice of mandatory retention under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “The research has been clear that mandatory retention disproportionately impacts students of color while failing to result in any meaningful academic gains for students over time. The law requiring mandatory retention was misguided. House Bill 497 sets that right while maintaining the Third Grade Reading Guarantee’s emphasis on building critical literacy skills for young students.”

By reducing the number of required administrations of the third-grade ELA test, House Bill 497 ensures more time for meaningful teaching and learning. More importantly, it ensures that the life-altering decisions about whether a student can advance to the fourth grade are made by their parents, educators, and school administrators—the people who know the child and their abilities best.

“The clock is ticking, and Ohio families are watching. There’s no excuse for the Ohio Senate to fail to take up this bill,” DiMauro said.

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