Bill to Hold Students Back a Grade for Poor Reading Moves Ahead

Tim Hoover, Denver Post, March 20, 2012

A bill that would recommend holding back kids in school if they can’t read by third grade won initial approval in the Colorado House on Tuesday in a debate that split Democrats.

House Bill 1238 doesn’t mandate holding functionally illiterate children back, but it does require schools to measure reading progress from kindergarten through third grade and hold discussions between teachers, principals and parents on whether to hold back a child.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to hold a child back a grade would rest with the school district superintendent.

Bipartisan supporters of the bill said it was a modest step toward improving early childhood literacy in Colorado, critical for reducing dropout rates and increasing college readiness. {snip}


And though opponents of the bill said it would disproportionately affect ethnic minorities, Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, who is black, and Rep. Robert Ramirez, R-Westminster, who is Latino, argued in favor of it.

“As far as I’m concerned, this bill is about closing the reading achievement gap in the state of Colorado,” Fields said. “In the state of Colorado, we have a problem, and the problem is centered around reading. We can no longer continue to do what we do. We have to put a focus on reading, and it has to start in kindergarten through third grade.”

Ramirez said that while retention may not always be the answer, the conversation must be required.

“I was that poor minority child growing up,” he said. “If it weren’t for that threat of being held up, I might not have put that extra effort forward so that I could move on to the next grade.”


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  • Related:

    (Disclaimer:  I might have gotten this from someone here at AR.)

    I’m sure this article is a run-up to a new best-selling book, that will be entitled:

    Why N’Deshawntavious Can’t Read

  • The_Bobster

    The down side to this is that it will make it even easier for black students to bully their smaller White classmates.

  • haroldcrews

    It’s commendable that the minority representatives support holding back illiterate children even though it will largely affect minority students.  I do not however see how it will reduce the achievement gap.  Taking two or three years more to graduate than white students even if it is at parity regarding literacy levels (a big assumption) there remains a gap.  There remains a higher expense for those students held back.  Additionally if a diploma is put off an additional year, or two or three this will only cause more minority students to drop out.  Higher dropout rates among those who are not likely to perform will probably be the best albeit unintended consequence of the change of policy.

    • Now you see why obuma wants to make it so they cant drop out till 18

    • The problem is that many of these students lack the required number of credits to graduate. This would be the case even if they stayed in school longer. In most states, after you turn 18, you have to pass the GED instead of a regular high school diploma.

  • I am for it if during the year that the child is held back, they get individual attention to correct their reading problems. It could be as simple as getting the child an eye exam and a pair of glasses that their parents cannot afford to get. This was true in my case because I could not copy words off the blackboard without glasses. After that, I became an excellent reader.

  • Obuma wants to make it so they cant drop out till 18. I guess they will be seeing draft age men in middle school again.

    • This whole bit about not allowing dropping out until the age of 18?

      Two simple motivations:

      1.  Left-wing feel-good-ism

      2.  Many school districts in many states get per capita per diem state recompensation from their state.  The more students enrolled in school and going to school every day, the more per capita per diem money that comes from the state.  Always the money.

      • Southern__Hoosier

        There are several other good reasons to keep them there till they are 18. They get to hang with their Bros. They get free meals. And the best of all, their parents get free day care.

        • That’s why their parents kick them out of the house when they turn 18. They are now adults. I had a student who tried to talk me into letting him move into my home, days before graduation, because his mother was throwing him out of the home. NOT!!

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        This is already the law in California:  No dropping out until 18.  This is a change from a few years ago when students could (and did) drop  out at 16 with a parent’s permission — Judging the police presence at our schools, I believe this is to keep our “increasingly diverse” students off of the streets.  

        ADA (the money we receive from the state for attendance) is no longer counted per diem — it’s PER HOUR.

        In California, we high school teachers are required to take roll EVERY SINGLE HOUR (thanks to Pete Wilson) to receive compensation from the state.  This means I must enter my attendance six time/day during the school day on a site that is cumbersome, unwieldy and clunky and down many times during the week.  This mandated task takes a lot of teacher time.

        I also receive a TON of papers at the end of the week about “attendance discrepancies” that I must check, re-check, sign and submit.  


        • From what I understand in California, a student can leave high school early if they take and pass a test in the second semester of their 10th grade year. It is called the California High School Proficiency exam (CHSPE). Many students go on to college early after passing this test.

          • Bon, From the Land of Babble

            Not true.

            The CHSPE is taken by VERY VERY few California students, even fewer pass — and those who pass still cannot leave high school w/o a parent’s written permission and may only go on to a community college — which are glorified high schools, just as dumbed down, NOT to a UC or CSU.

            I have known of only a very small handful of students who have done this –mostly high IQd students who cannot tolerate the structure or idiocy of the average high school. I suggested this test for my son when he was fighting the confines and restrictions of the local high school, but in the end we decided he’d be better off staying in high school because of the AP classes — AP classes far above anything taught at the local CC.


  • “What is the longest, hardest thing on a black kid?”

    “Third grade!”

    Oh, that ol’ gag is now legislation!

    This also fits in with President Obama wanting mandatory attendance in the re-education camps and anti-White indoctrination centers laughingly called high “school” until people turn 18.

    That would be bloody murder on blacks and browns but it at least would keep them off the street until 3 in the afternoon, I suppose. I doubt event that, though. Skipping “mandatory” school would just be more crime that non-Whites “disproportionately” commit.

    • MikeofAges

      Years ago, one of my brothers called public high schools, the ones most people have to attend, “racist, sexist prisons”. We have different political views among the members of my family.

      Well, I turned this over in my mind, and I noted that public high schools manage all at once to be “anti-black, anti-white, anti-male and anti-female”. Not always all true, all at once, all the time, everywhere. But close enough often enough to make you think. For many people, high school is a reign of terror, an artificially constructed stress test most people cannot pass even if they do leave with a diploma. Why would anyone voluntarily goes to school where they could end up being prosecuted for having an aspirin tablet in their possession? Or for a having an overlooked steak knife in their vehicle left over from a family camping trip? Or a school that does not have a curriculum and a method of teaching which gives them the best chance of succeeding in it and moving on?

      No wonder people walk out. Then the high school system has to use extortion to get people to stay there. Finish or you will be a “drop out” and not allowed to work in any credible job. Even the private employer has little latidtude to go against this system. Not when all face the potential of ruinous legal action over their their hiring policies should they deemed to discriminate against someone, if only a theoretical, not even an actual, person.

      • It is possible to take high school classes online at no charge. I wish we had this option when I was in high school. I would not have been distracted as much.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    Racist! The overwhelming number of students that will be held back will be Blacks and Hispanics. And how long do they plan on holding these children in the 3rd grade, until they graduate?

    • Until they turn 18 so that they can legally kick them out of school.

  • No it was just successful in my case. I think that the problem is with the parents of these kids who take no interest in their kids’ education. If I had a child with a reading difficulty, I would work with them after school, do any of these parents do that?

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      It is not that parents do or do not read to their children before they enter school. Most blacks and hispanics enter school two years behind White/Asian children and never catch up.  Billions of dollars of White taxpayer money has been thrown at “early intervention” to no avail. 

      Head Start was formed to address this issue and after five decades has proved to be a massive failure.

      Most of these children simply do not have the capacity to understand written language past a very rudimentary level no matter how much intervention they receive.  Even when the material is read to them,  they do not and cannot comprehend it.  

      There is no know program that  raises IQ because it is not possible to do so.

      As Charles Murray states in Real Education:

      We have no evidence at all that we know how to produce lasting increases in IQ  scores after children reach school.  All the data about the trajectory of IQ scores  over the life span indicate that they stabilize around ages six to ten and typically remain unchanged into old age.

      Intense intervention reading programs have been around for decades, one after the other, starting before Kindergarten.  None have made a difference.  Not One.  Because the problem is due to inherent low IQ and lack of intelligence, NOT lack of education.


  • chuck_2011

    Tyrone, Latravious and D’Shawnitis will have to be held back until they can read NOT…what a joke as these thugs will make life so miserable for younger students they will be promoted no matter the reading skills.  When I listen to black males talk I wonder if being stupid has an absolute lower limit but they seems to prove this limitless.