Florida lawmaker again proposes ending third grade retention law
A court challenge of Florida's third-grade retention law may have failed, but that isn't stopping one state House member from continuing his effort to rewrite the rules.
Rep. John Cortes, a Kissimmee Democrat with no education committee assignments, has refiled legislation seeking to end the practice of holding back third graders who don't earn a passing score on the state reading test or receive a good cause exemption. His effort last year did not get a hearing in its first committee of reference.
HB 161, submitted this week, still leaves room for having students with reading deficiencies repeat the grade. But it would remove all references of "mandatory retention" from the law, leaving more room for teacher discretion.
Cortes could not be reached for comment.
His proposal comes as some families who sued over the law have said they are contemplating whether to refile the case in local county courts. No action has been taken yet.
Florida has held back third graders who do not pass the state reading test for more than 15 years. Its practice has become a model, with 14 other states implementing similar rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.