The Michigan Read by Third Grade Law was enacted in law in 2016, by the Michigan legislatures. The law was simple, it addressed the literacy problems facing our states K-3rd grade students. Students in 3rd grade did so poorly on the reading portion of the MSTEP, which is the Michigan Standardized Test of Educational Progress. This test is given in the spring of every year starting with 3rd grade. It also measures other things like math, but the low reading scores is the culprit that prompted the new law. The law states if 3rd graders fail the reading portion of the MSTEP, they will qualify to repeat the 3rd grade again. Michigan gave all school districts 3 years to combat this issue. How to successfully teach our kids to read in public schools starting with kindergarten. The measurement was to be judged the 2019-2020 school year. Spring 2020 the world experienced the "Pandemic." School closings and online learning put students more behind in reading. Spring 2020 only about 70% of 3rd graders took the MSTEP. The news was not good, close to 6000 students were deemed to repeat the 3rd grade due to their low-test scores on the reading portion of MSTEP. However only 1300 students were retained. Exemptions are given to every district which is worked out with the school and the parents. Were too many exemptions given? Or did online learning make it harder to teach reaching? Both equally played a role in stifling reading growth in our 3rd graders. In addition, the lower grades suffered too. All kids from kindergarten - high school suffered learning loss due to the pandemic. Its' true younger readers fall behind in reading at the 3rd grade level that's why reading in the early years are so vital to growth in reading.
February 2023 Governor Gretchen Whitmer has updated the Michigan, Read by 3rd Grade Law removing the retention of 3rd graders that fail the reading portion of the MSTEP, the Michigan Standardized Test of Educational Progress. Alot of people look at this law as already being rooted in biases which was to hold back more black children than any other race. Now we look towards the promise of hope with the Governor Whitmer promising to give $94 million to Detroit Public Schools to help eliminate the literacy gap in the states biggest blackest public school district. Only time will tell if the money will help prepare learners into readers. Money promised after 7 students sued the district and State of Michigan for the, right to read.