Gov. Rick Snyder signs legislation prioritizing third grade reading proficiency in Michigan

Bill Signing picture

Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation ensuring Michigan students will become better readers early on and therefore better able to learn before completing the third grade.

“By helping students read proficiently by the third grade, we can make sure that our children have the necessary skills to do well in school and be successful for the rest of their lives,” Snyder said.

The governor was joined in the Capitol rotunda as he signed the bill by students from Dix Elementary School in Otsego.

House Bill 4822, sponsored by state Rep. Amanda Price, establishes guidelines to assure students have third grade level literacy before continuing on to the next grade. In order to accomplish this, several supports for struggling students are being created. Individualized plans will be constructed for every student who falls behind to ensure that those students receive the assistance they need to be successful.

The bill also requires principals or administrators to provide teachers with professional development programs that will assist them in improving reading proficiency. The new guidelines go into effect for the 2017-2018 kindergarten class.

Third-grade reading proficiency was a key point in Snyder’s 2015 State of the State address. Research has shown that after third grade, students need to move past learning to read so they can read to learn. In the summer of 2015, a bipartisan group of legislators and education stakeholders met to discuss changes to the state’s literacy policies. This legislation is the final piece to completing the work of that group.

The bill is now Public Act 306 of 2016.

For more information on this and other legislation, please visit www.legislature.mi.gov.

Gov. Snyder also announced initial appointments to the PreK-12 Literacy Commission.

Housed within the Michigan Department of Education, the 13-member commission will advise and assist in matters relating to the assessment, professional development, education programming, socioeconomic challenges, best practices, collaboration, parental engagement, and teaching of literacy.

Appointments:

Lois Bader of East Lansing is the executive director of the Capital Area Literacy Coalition. She holds a bachelor’s degree from California State College, a master’s degree from Kean University and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She will represent a member submitted by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Steve Goodman of Grand Haven is the director of Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative, co-director of Michigan School Climate Transformation Grant and the Adolescent Literacy Model Demonstration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology/special education from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University.

JaNel Jamerson of Flint is the executive director of the Flint & Genesee Literacy Network. He holds both a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Michigan Flint. He will represent a member submitted by the Senate Minority Leader.

John Kennedy of Kentwood is president and CEO of Autocam Medical. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit Mercy and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.

Kyle Mayer of Grand Haven is the assistant superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in educational leadership and a Ph.D. in educational leadership research and technology from Western Michigan University.

Susan Medendorp of Lansing is the center director of Abrams Teaching Lab at the Michigan Dyslexia Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences as well as an elementary education degree with special education endorsements for ages 0-25 in emotionally impaired, learning disabilities, and mentally impaired from Calvin College and a master of divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary.

Naomi Norman of Ann Arbor is the assistant superintendent of Washtenaw Intermediate School District. She holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in educational studies and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan

Amanda Price of Holland is a state representative for the 89th District, and serves as chair of the Education Committee. Price holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University. She will represent a member submitted by the Speaker of the House and will serve as chair of this commission.

Jeremy Reuter of Haslett is the president of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in family community services and a master’s degree in family studies from Michigan State University. 

Nadra Shami of Dearborn is a district language and literacy trainer for Dearborn Public Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in instructional technology from Wayne State University, a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Michigan and an education specialist degree in education leadership from Oakland University. She will represent a member submitted by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Denise Smith of Detroit is vice president of early learning at Excellent Schools District in Detroit. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in communications and French from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in human development from Pacific Oaks College.

Medendorp and Smith will serve one-year terms expiring October 31, 2017. Jamerson, Kennedy, Norman and Price will serve two-year terms expiring October 31, 2018. Mayer and Reuter will serve three-year terms expiring October 31, 2019. Bader, Goodman and Shami will serve four-year terms October 31, 2020.

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