Enforce New Ohio Reading Mandate

Some Ohio school administrators are in near-panic mode because of the state’s new “third-grade reading guarantee.” Buckeye State residents should have just three words for them: Deal with it.

Under the new rule, third-grade students in public schools are tested to determine their reading ability. If they are not at levels judged adequate, their school districts must give them extra help to bring them up to speed.

Any children who do not make appropriate progress by the end of their third-grade years are not promoted to the fourth grade.

Most school administrators worried about the rule are in big cities. In Columbus, for example, nearly half the children in kindergarten through third grades do not read at age-appropriate levels.

Part of the reason so many children are behind is that, for many years, not enough attention was given to their basic skills. That resulted in some high school graduates who can’t read.

State officials were right to establish the new rule. It needs to be enforced – for the good of the children.