BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - House Bill 388 or the Alabama Literacy Act would hold a third grader back if they can’t prove they can read at or above their grade level.
"It creates accountability. Not only for our students, but for our parents. We need to get our parents on board and involved and take a more active approach to their children's learning,” says Dr. Dashannikia Holston, an educator at C.J. Donald Elementary School.
The bill requires the state superintendent to create a task force to create a new way to test a student's ability to read and also identify the students who need the most help.
“What it’s going to do is not allow them to get into a grade level where they can’t keep up. That creates more bullying, you know, just various things that it creates for that particular child,” said Dr. Holston.
Some parents we talked with worry this will put more pressure on teachers.
"I can see parents not wanting that for their child, but you have to look at the bigger picture as far as their education and preparing them for the future. They have to be able to read to succeed," says parent Lana Hobbs.
Education experts worry the bill could potentially hold back 10,000 students in its first year.
"If it's something that's going to be beneficial to their children and their future then why not agree with it? Why not get on board with it?" says Holston.
The bill would also provide for regional specialists who would go into the schools four times a year and monitor the progress of the students. They would then offer recommendations to the teachers about how to move forward.