ST. PAUL  (AP) - A bill approved by the Minnesota House would instruct school districts to hold back third graders who are struggling with reading.

The bill requires that schools hold back students who are not reading at grade-level in third grade. However, parents could advance their children to fourth grade by signing a form.

The provision was part of a broader Republican education policy bill that was approved Monday 74-55 on a largely party-line vote.

Several leading DFLers on the House education committee and the state teachers union, Education Minnesota, criticized the bill, saying research indicates the policy won't actually improve student achievement.

The measure is not included in the Senate's education policy bill, which has not yet reached the floor.

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