Third-Grade Reading Bill? Ask Fourth-Graders

‘They will be heartshaddered,’ Writes One; Another: ‘School is for learning, not friends’

Nathan Peltz, a teacher at Cummings Elementary School, with his fourth-graders

A group of fourth-graders in Nathan Peltz’s class at Cummings Elementary School planned to travel to Lansing today to discuss their opinions on the so-called “third-grade reading bill” with the Senate prior to their vote.

Sixteen of Peltz’s fourth-graders penned opinion pieces on House Bill 4822, which would mandate students repeat third grade if they do not show a basic level of reading proficiency on the M-Step test.

You can check out their views, both in favor of and against, in this PDF.

Peltz said every year he looks for a real-life topic for students to learn about and offer their opinions, and this year HB 4822 was chosen.

“Since my students were just in third grade last year, they were passionate about if this bill should or should not become a law,” Peltz said. “I was amazed at how they respectfully debated between one another” and the “unbelieveable job they did supporting their thinking.”

State Rep. Rob VerHeulen visited the class in February to discuss the bill, which lawmakers may take up as early as today.

Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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