The grim saga of Read to Achieve continues.
On Thursday, June 5, the North Carolina House voted 73-40 to concur with H230, the Senate’s proposed changes to Read to Achieve (see here for bill text and vote tallies). Particular thanks go to the bipartisan group of House members who voted not to concur, in an effort to create an opportunity for further discussion about this highly important (and currently highly destructive) piece of education policy.
The changes make some improvements to Read to Achieve. They exempt a wider range of special needs students from the retention requirements, provide greater flexibility regarding summer school, and make some modifications to testing and portfolio requirements.
In our estimation, however, the changes will do little to improve the experience of most third graders in the coming year.
The high stakes still attached to reading test scores will continue to spawn unacceptable amounts of test prep and anxiety.
The changes do nothing for the many children who are still likely to face mandatory retention under the program, despite copious evidence that for most children, retention does more harm than good.
The program also continues to lack needed investments in reading interventions in earlier grades.
MecklenburgACTS.org will continue to work to mobilize parents across North Carolina to press for broader changes to Read to Achieve in the next legislative session. If you are interested in helping to mobilize parents at your school or in your community, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about Read to Achieve, including perspectives from experts and from parents, can be found in the Read to Achieve section of this website.