Jan 17, 2013 1:09 AM by MTN News

Helena senator introduces reading bill

HELENA - A Helena Senator wants to make sure students can read proficiently before advancing past the third grade. Senator Dave Lewis (R- Helena) presented his bill before the Senate Education committee Wednesday afternoon.

"It takes up on the old saying that you hear from people: from grade one through three you learn to read, and from grade four on you read to learn," Lewis testified.

Lewis's Senate Bill 78 mandates that students must meet certain reading requirements before they can pass the third grade. According to the bill, if a student doesn't score high enough on a standardized reading test then the student must be held back.

The Montana School Board Association's Deborah Silk says her organization opposes the bill because they believe the decision to hold a child back should not be legislated from Helena.

"We believe that these decisions are best left to the professional educators, the teachers, the other para-professionals that are working with students, the principals in conjunction with the parents," Silk testified.

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau (D) and many other stakeholders in the education community also oppose the bill.

The committee has yet to vote on it.

Here is the link to the bill:


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