Study Shows Two-Thirds of Michigan 4th Graders Not Reading Proficiently

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Two-thirds of Michigan's 4th graders are not reading proficiently, according to a report out Tuesday showing Michigan is falling behind other states.

"This is not good new for Michigan," said Jane Zehnder-Merrell with the Kids Count Michigan project at the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The report shows a whopping 81 percent of low-income 4th graders and 69 percent of kids overall are not reading at an appropriate level.

"It's very disturbing because we are one of only six states in the nation that made no progess on 4th grade reading achievement over the decade between 2003 and 2013," she said.

The state's shrinking spending on K-12 education over the past decade is blamed for helping compound the issue.

The report also shows the disparity between low-income and other students is also widening, and in a district like Lansing where many of the students come from low-income households, it's a battle Supt. Yvonne Caamal Canul is already fighting.

"Declining resources is a huge challenge for all of us," Caamal Canul said. "One of the major things we did was reconfigure the district around this idea of kids being able to read by the time they leave the third grade."

Caamal Canul emphasizes it will take more than just tests to play a role in improving proficiency.

"It's hugely data driven, there's data driven where you look at outcome data from a student taking a test but there's also data on the process of learning and that's what we've been focusing on," she said.

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