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Iowa will not allow third graders to pass from third grade to fourth grade unless they can pass a standardized test. The pressure to read has moved down to kindergarten.
“Kindergartners at Hubbell Elementary School in Des Moines no longer have time set aside to play — or to take a nap. Recess, too, has been shortened to 30 minutes a day. Like many schools across Iowa, the state’s push for education reform has set higher expectations that are placing more pressure on teachers and students.
“Now, 5- and 6-year-olds are expected to know their letters and numbers before they start kindergarten. And by the spring, they are supposed to be able to add and subtract numbers up to 10 and read words such as “school” and “food.”
“We are the new first grade,” said Micaela Tuttle, a kindergarten teacher at Hubbell who’s taught for 10 years.
“This year’s kindergarten and first-graders are garnering special focus because of a key part of Iowa’s education reform law: third-grade retention.
“Starting in May 2017, students who are below grade level in reading by the spring of third grade will be required to repeat the grade.
“However, they may enroll in a summer reading program to progress to fourth grade.”
One in four third-graders are unlikely to pass the test.