Dayton Gets Real: OEA wants lawmakers to drop reading test requirement

The Ohio Education Association (OEA) wants lawmakers to drop a requirement for third graders to pass a standardized reading test or be held back a year to repeat the third grade.

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Consultants the OEA is working with believe the policy impacts minority and poor students at higher levels than other students.

“First of all, how devastating to a child’s ego and self-esteem,” Ohio third grade teacher, Karen Carney, said, “it’s almost like wearing a proverbial scarlet letter.”

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The union that represents Ohio school teachers claim that the law simply does not work.

“Bottom line, its a policy that doesn’t work,” Scott Di Mauro, President of the OEA, said, “and we shouldn’t continue with policies that are not effective.”

Dr. Christina Collins, who works for the Ohio Department of Education, said that the states own numbers seem to show the policy is not helping poor readers develop their skills.

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Dr. Collins reported that the state averages more than 3600 third graders held back for failing the test each year, but after a year, only 14% of those repeat third graders were deemed proficient in reading and only 8% were deemed proficient by the time they were in fourth grade.

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