Michigan Panel Weighs Holding Back Third-Graders

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan lawmakers are debating whether to hold back all third-graders who aren't proficient in reading.

A House committee heard testimony Wednesday on new legislation to prohibit students from starting fourth grade without passing the state reading test in third grade. One-third or 33,000 of Michigan's third-graders, weren't proficient in reading on last year's test.

Supporters say it's unfair to promote kids and expect them to learn other subjects if they have trouble reading. They say third grade is a key indicator of future success.

Critics question whether backers of the bill would make sure schools and students have resources so kids are helped in kindergarten, first and second grades. Opponents also question why it is necessary to hold third-graders back instead of just ensuring they get extra help earlier on.

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