School districts across Ohio have one more year to prepare for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. It means, among other things, that third graders can either read at a certain level or they are automatically held back up to two times.
Dr. Evonne Welton, an associate dean at The University of Akron's College of Education. Welton says that some parts of the plan have merit, but key components just boil down to another unfunded mandate that is leaving cash-strapped school districts worried.
"The extra teachers, the individualized help that they get pre-third grade and the other issue is that if they (students) are retained, they're (administrators) going to need more third grade classrooms.
Welton says if the guarantee was already in effect, 27-thousand students statewide, including about 30-percent of Akron third graders, would be back in a third grade classroom this fall.
Welton says more thought needs to go into making a student repeat a grade.
"Long term studies show that there's an increased dropout rate for students that are retained, there's a higher incidence of unemployment, there's less likelihood that they'll go on to college and their self-confidence is ruined.
Welton says there are already programs in place to help struggling students, but making those more comprehensive would be a better plan, even though they are more labor-intensive.