Omaha Public Schools Superintendent Mark Evans called a proposal to hold back third-graders who struggle with reading too “simplistic” at a luncheon Thursday.
During a question-and-answer session at the Omaha Press Club, a veteran teacher asked Evans his thoughts on State Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh's plan to introduce a bill that would require schools to retain third-graders who aren't reading at grade level.
Evans said research hasn't supported that approach.
“It's been done across the United States at times,” he said. “But if you look a little deeper into the analysis and data, most states that have done that don't do it for very long because it didn't give them the results they thought it would.”
“If it was that simplistic, folks, we would have all done it a long time ago,” he said.
Last year, 14 states, including Iowa, passed third-grade reading requirement laws that typically require students to demonstrate proficiency in reading or pass a state test, or face reading interventions or being held back.
Evans said basing a student's grade promotion on one reading test is too reductive.
“If you're making it on one data point, the research is abundantly clear: You've probably destined that young person to be a drop-out by doing that,” he said.