- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit school system has cut a literacy program two months after Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation requiring districts to invest more in helping students who are struggling to read.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District ended the Reading Recovery program last week, leaving about 100 first-graders without daily one-on-one help from literacy specialists.

Another challenge students will face is a law that takes effect in the 2017-18 school year that will require Michigan third-graders to be held back if they fall behind in reading, with few exceptions.

The district’s decision has left some teachers surprised and frustrated.

“It’s absolutely absurd and inexplicable in light of the third-grade reading legislation, and in light of our district’s supposed commitment to literacy, that we would eliminate such a successful program,” said Cari Chagnon, a literacy program teacher.

The Reading Recovery program was at some of the district’s worst-performing schools, the Detroit Free Press (https://on.freep.com/2hLaJzK ) reported. Students who qualified for the program were the lowest-performing first-graders in their schools.

“Most kids we get in Reading Recovery don’t even know how to write their name,” said Justin Kemeny, a program teacher who was reassigned.

District officials said they need the program’s more than 20 teachers to take on full classrooms because of a teacher shortage.

The program has been in the district for more than two decades. One hundred more kids would’ve entered the program in the second half of this school year, and many other children participated in small reading groups.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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