Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
Nesbit Elementary School third-grade teacher Brandon Bell left, goes over an assignment with two of his students, Jordan Koyi, left, and Ramiro Rodriguez.
A decade ago Florida made a consorted effort to make sure third graders could read. Now that effort is paying off.
Only seven of every 100 third graders have to repeat the grade. That’s down from 10 out of every 100 back in in 2003.
Florida has made a commitment both in school districts, legislature, Department of Education in focusing on early education.
Since 2003 127-thousand third graders have been held back because they didn’t pass the reading portion of the F-CAT.
“I think the numbers would continue to go down with time. Simply because we are on an earlier basis of identifying students with problems.”
Juhan Mixon with the Florida Association of School Administrators says the drop isn’t surprising. “You would be doing something wrong if you did everything we’ve done and you’re not improving.”
Stewart Greenberg has worked on improving literacy with students across the country. “Teachers have made a commitment in Pre-K all the way through third grade and beyond to focus on making sure students know how to read, read well, think well and then support their answers in writing."
Since Florida adopted the law concentrating on students passing the third grade reading portion of the F-CAT more than a dozen other states and the District of Columbia have adopted similar laws.
“It you can’t read its going to be very difficult to get a job, its going to be very difficult to pass math or science or any other subject, according to Mixon.
The success doesn’t come cheap, Florida spent 130 million dollars on reading improvement last year alone.
There are six exemptions for students, two of those include students with disabilities and English language learners with less than two years in a specialized English class.