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Literacy Act requirement delay advances, needs one more vote

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

A bill advanced Tuesday to delay from spring 2022 to spring 2024 the requirement that third-grade students not proficient in reading repeat the grade.

It now has two legislative days to get final approval in the House.

Senate Bill 92 from Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, was approved in the House Education Policy Committee Tuesday morning on a voice vote. Committee chair Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, one of the original sponsors of the 2019 Literacy Act that requires the holdback, was a “no” vote.

“It’s very close, but I’m going to give the bill a favorable report,” Collins said after calling for the vote two times to hear it correctly.

Smitherman has said the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered education delivery in the state to the disadvantage of students and the holdback requirement should be delayed two years. Otherwise, too many students will have to repeat the grade.

Opponents argue that more data is needed before any changes are made.

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