Las Cruces, NM — A radio spot by New Mexico Competes supports Governor Martinez’s failed plan to retain third graders. The voiceover states that third graders who are not reading proficiently are 4-times more likely to drop out. This research is based on a report called “Double Jeopardy,” which was put out by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In the study being reported, 16 percent of those who were not reading proficiently at third grade did not graduate on time while 4 percent of those who were reading proficiently didn’t graduate. While this is accurate, what the political commercial does not say is that 84 percent of students who were not reading proficiently DID graduate on time. Are we going to retain these students who are on track for graduation?
This same research found that third grade students living in poverty are 5-times more likely not to graduate. Poverty was probably the cause of both the poor reading and the lower graduation rate.
The Governor wants to retain poor readers at third grade although there is scant scientific evidence that it is beneficial or that it improves graduation rates, and substantial scientific research that it is detrimental. Following the same logic, maybe we should retain poor children until they become affluent. But, that too is ridiculous.
Call your legislators and tell them to never give up on children because they are poor.