Brownback's Reading Plan Gets Hearing

Feb 26, 2013

Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal requiring school districts to hold back Kansas third-graders who aren't proficient in reading is getting mixed reviews in the Legislature.

The Senate Education Committee heard testimony Monday on the plan. The proposal includes $10 million in grant money for intervention programs to help third-graders meet state standards in reading.

Brownback policy director Jon Hummell says the goal isn't to keep children from advancing to fourth grade but to improve overall education outcomes, including reducing dropout rates.

Critics say any short-term gains in reading achieved by similar initiatives are offset in the long run by the stigma of being held back or by the lack of adequate funding to improve early childhood programs.