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Measure would hold back SD kids struggling in reading

PIERRE — A state lawmaker from Perkins County wants to require that first- and second-grade students show they are proficient at reading before they can advance to the next grade.

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“I brought the bill at the request of my school board in Eagle Butte,” Rep. Betty Olson, R-Prairie City, said.

The House Education Committee hasn’t scheduled a hearing yet for HB 1067. The bill doesn’t name a specific assessment or test that should be used.

“They’ll have to figure that out,” Olson said.

A similar measure that would cover third grade is in the draft stage from Sen. Ryan Maher, R-Isabel.

He said the state Department of Education has it under review. “Even if they oppose it, I’ll still put it in,” Maher said. “This will get the conversation started.”

Maher is the lead Senate sponsor on Olson’s bill.

He said neither measure, if one becomes law, would directly apply to Eagle Butte because it’s a federal Bureau of Indian Education school.

“It would help other schools that aren’t BIE,” he said.

State achievement tests start in grade three in South Dakota.