More Iowa kids would flunk third grade if a bill that cleared the Iowa Senate today becomes law. The bill aims to end so-called “social promotion” by requiring that students who cannot read at a third grade level must be held back another year. School boards would be able to let a kid enter fourth grade if it was “in the child’s best interest.” Senator Paul McKinley, a republican from Chariton, says the proposal strikes at the heart of why he ran for office.McKinley says he’s a “zealot” about teaching kids to read. Senator Maggie Tinsman, a republican from Davenport, says if Iowa is to be the “education state,” it must make a stand.Tinsman says the “basic goal of education” has been and must continue to be to teach the skill of reading. But the bill had its critics. Senator Mike Connolly, a democrat from Dubuque, says the intentions are good, but it’ll hurt kids.Connolly says a third grader could be a “genius” in math and science, but be held back because of poor reading skills. He says “that defies common sense.” Senator Jack Hatch, a democrat from Des Moines, says it’s parents and teachers who should be making the final decision about whether a kid should move on to fourth grade. Hatch says he can’t understand why “this legislature wants to take that right away from parents.” The bill passed the Senate and now goes to the House for consideration.
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