Under the Dome

Berger pops Read to Achieve trial balloon

An advisory group state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson convened on the new third-grade reading law recommends that this year be considered a trial year.

Senate leader Phil Berger, the law’s champion, doesn’t like the idea.

“No,” Berger said in a statement. “It’s wrong to let another class of third graders slip through the cracks. Passing them along unprepared has not solved the problem before, and it is not a solution now.”

Under the law, most third graders who do not show they can read at grade level by the beginning of fourth grade will be retained. Students without good cause exemptions who cannot pass reading tests will be asked to attend reading camps starting this summer.

The law has had a bumpy introduction, and district superintendents are worried about running summer reading camps for hundreds of more children than they anticipated.

The recommendation that this be a trial year was one of several suggestions for changing the law published by the state Department of Public Instruction on Tuesday. Atkinson presented the other ideas to legislators at a committee meeting last week.