Nate Robson
Nate Robson

March 28, 2014

Update, March 31: The Senate Education Committee voted 11-0 to pass an amended version of a bill that gives districts more local control when retaining third graders who fail the state’s reading exam. Amended HB 2625 would exempt third grade students already showing reading proficiency from having to meet requirements under Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act. The goal of the amendment is to alleviate so-called test stress from students worried they will be held back if they fail the state’s assessment in April. The amendment also provides more education resources to students who pass the assessment but are still not reading at grade level.The bill now heads to the Senate floor for a full vote.

A bill giving school districts and parents more control over the retention of third grade students failing the state’s high-stakes reading assessment this April will be heard in the Senate Education Committee Monday.

House Bill 2625 allows for a panel consisting of a student’s parents, third grade teacher, a fourth grade teacher, school principal and reading specialists to make a unanimous recommendation that the student pass on to fourth grade if they fail the test.

The school superintendent then has to approve the recommendation.

If approved, the student would receive intensive reading assistance in an attempt to improve proficiency.

Under the current Reading Sufficiency Act, students scoring at the lowest level on the test can only advance if they meet one of six specific criteria. Current exemptions include the creation of a portfolio showing proficiency, exemptions for English language learners and special education students.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 third graders are at risk of failing the test, based on previous years’ results. At least half are expected to receive an exemption under the current law.

HB 2625 passed out of the House on May 4.

Also on Monday, the House Common Education Committee will consider a bill calling for the mandatory reading of the “Pledge of Allegiance” once a week. That bill is SB 1143.

The law also requires a written notice displayed in each classroom telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge.

That bill passed the Senate on May 5.

The full House Education Committee agenda can be found here. The Senate Education Committee agenda can be found here.

Nate Robson can be reached at

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