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Alabama will wait two more years to hold back third-graders who aren't reading on grade level.
Legislators convened that a 2019 Literacy Act, which included funding and support to assist more children, was a preventative measure. Those who failed to read well enough in the fourth grade should be retained.
Gov. Kay Ivey decided to postpone the retention clause until the 2023-2024 school year. This winter, about 23% of Alabama third graders would be at danger for retention.
"We are making clear that, unlike what we are seeing in some other states around the country, Alabama is focusing on core instruction, and that means ensuring our students are proficient in both reading and math," Ivey said in a press release Thursday, following the signing of SB200, a compromise measure.
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The Numeracy Act, which I signed into law recently, and the Alabama Literacy Act are both ways to assist our students. Today, our efforts to implement the Literacy Act are already underway, and by signing House Bill 220, we are consolidating that. I am putting ink on the fact that there is absolutely no longer a delay to this process. All of the Alabama Literacy Act components, which are absolutely straightforward and simple, are fully implemented.
The Alabama Literacy Act requires students not reading on grade level to receive additional support services, including summer reading camps and expert instruction.
This fall, experts and statisticians will consider the retention requirement of the law, recognizing that the epidemic and modifications to assessments might causing it difficult to accurately identify which students may need to repeat a grade.
Senator Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, has signed a Senate Bill 220, which includes a replacement of Rep. Terri Collins, who was also signed by Ivey Thursday. HB220 removes certain sections of the Alabama Literacy Act, including exempting individuals with individualized education programs, or IEPs, who do not take the statewide reading test from the retention requirement.
The House Bill 435, sponsored by Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, was also approved Thursday. The new law is nearly double the amount of funding available for math and science teachers to repay loans.