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Reaction to Sandoval on reading: Oh no, not more accountability!

A lot of educrats are all aghast over Gov. Brian Sandoval calling for getting a better grip on reading skills of second-graders.

The reaction is the usual.

Former State Board of Education member Jan Biggerstaff was quoted as saying another test is "not going to improve reading."

“We are loading them up with so much stuff. If we add another test, that’s another test they have to prepare for."

But as today’s story points out, there already is plenty of testing going on. Interim assessment tests, which include so-called “language arts” skills, are given three times a year up till high school. The tests aren’t monitored and probably shouldn’t be used as make or break, pass or fail criterion, but the assessment is already taking place.

What appears to not be taking place is the hard decision: Flunking third- and fourth-graders who who can’t read.

As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush noted in his Monday Wall Street Journal op-ed, referenced in this space Tuesday, “While preparing kids for college and careers starts on the first day of kindergarten, the first good indicator of their chances for success may come in fourth grade. That is when students transition from learning to read to reading to learn.”

If they can’t read, they can’t continue to learn and keep up with the rest. They simply fall further behind.

The answer may not be more tests, but using what is available, including the judgment of qualified teachers, to make the responsible decision to not promote a child who has not mastered the material already presented. Socialization should be secondary to education.

Reading is fundamental.

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