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Politics

NC Superintendent: 70K Students Promoted Despite Reading Skills

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N.C. Department of Public Instruction

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s superintendent of public instruction is alleging that more than 70,000 third-grade students have been wrongly promoted since 2014 even though they did not meet mandated reading requirements.

News outlets report State Superintendent Mark Johnson in a memo released this week criticized the State Board of Education and former staff members of the Department of Public Instruction for “aggressive work-arounds” that he claims have “gutted” a program meant to ensure students can read proficiently before advancing to fourth grade.

Lawmakers approved the Read to Achieve program in 2012. Under the program, students are to be promoted based on their academic abilities, not their age.

State Board Chairman Eric Davis is denying Johnson’s allegations. He says that if the board had enacted policies that were not in accordance with the law, the General Assembly would have already taken action.

The Republican Johnson wrote in his memo that he is working with local superintendents to “restructure the policies implementing” the program. Johnson has been feuding with the board since getting elected in 2016.