State Rep. Tom Kuhn on Tuesday voted against an irresponsible plan to lower literacy requirements and supports for students at elementary schools throughout Michigan.
“You don’t help children achieve by providing less for them,” said Kuhn, of Troy. “This bill is a resignation by Democrats that they don’t care to focus help for many of these children who are struggling in the classroom.”
A law signed in 2016 seeks to set children throughout the state on a course for success. It requires an assessment of a child’s reading level, employs possible methods to address any deficiencies and gives parents updates on their child’s progress. The law was crafted with input from teachers, parents and education experts.
The move to repeal the law comes as Michigan currently ranks 43rd out of 50 states in fourth-grade reading scores.
“As the 2016 law continues to be implemented to improve our kids’ reading proficiency, these repeal efforts seek to eradicate a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist,” Kuhn said. “When a child can’t read at their grade level, we have to think of the options available. Is it better to get parental input, give added supports and possibly even hold them back and make sure they’re in the best position to succeed or continue to facilitate failure by moving them on to the next grade without skills they need to learn there?
“It might be painful to hold back a third-grader, but it’s less painful than for them to graduate without basic skills and to be set up for a lifetime of being held back – which has many negative psychological effects. We have to stop passing the buck, address why these children are being failed within a crucial time of their development, and push for real solutions that make sense for kids, families and educators.”
Republicans in the House proposed multiple amendments as Senate Bill 12 has moved through the legislative process, including ensuring parents and guardians are involved with intervention strategies for students who are not reading at their grade level after fourth grade and grants of up to $1,000 for tutoring and other services if a child is severely behind in reading proficiency. The amendments, however, were rejected by Democrat majority.
The bill will soon go to the governor’s desk for consideration.
“Today, the state continued to embrace a broken budgeting process that leaves the public confused and left behind. We participate in these meetings where leaders glaze over huge issues that sound nice on paper but make little sense when you dig into the details. Our budgeting process needs a complete overhaul so we can start focusing more on the details and less on fancy buzzwords.”
“The most important focus for our community colleges should be student success,” Kuhn said. “Unfortunately, too many students graduate from our high schools with insufficient skills to successfully complete two years of community college. We want to assure that all students who have access to community college, also have access to be successful at the community college level. I don’t see any commitment in the Governor’s State of the State that addresses the need for student success.”
“All of our state government needs to be subject to FOIA requests, plain and simple,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “There are two states in our country that exempt their Legislature and governor from FOIA requests, and we’re one of them. This lack of transparency and accountability is completely unacceptable. Our plan allows for added public oversight of all government and increases penalties for non-compliant public bodies.”
“Families entrust these state-run facilities with the care of their vulnerable loved ones, and they deserve complete transparency if there has been any negligence on the part of the state,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “The OAG audit will unseal any bad practices and allow the Legislature to have a wholistic view of how these facilities operate. Elected officials have a duty to step in and take corrective action if the facility is giving families in our community substandard care. This audit is the first step in that process.”