Education Issues: Third Grade Reading

Should third graders who cannot pass the state reading exam be held back?

Lawmakers wrestled with the question throughout the legislative session before passing a bill that will allow a team of parents, teachers and school officials to decide if a student should be promoted.

However the debate over the issue isn't over. The reading law came up at Tulsa's Channel 8's State of Education debate between Republican candidates Janet Barresi and Joy Hofmeister.

Barresi said she was disappointed with lawmakers reversed course on the mandatory retention.

"The No. 1 challenge in this state is reading," she said. "If you cannot read, you cannot do anything else. If you can't get a 3rd grader past the 1st grade level, there's nothing wrong with child, but everything wrong with system."

Hofmeister said teaching children to read is a community effort.

"We all need to have a dedication to it," she said. "We need to remember that one test on one day should not determine a child's future."

Barresi countered saying "There are multiple opportunities for children to show progress. It's not just one test. Children should be able to read by the time they get to 4th grade."