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RICHMOND (AP) -- The Virginia Board of Education is considering applications from two dozen Virginia elementary schools seeking waivers from state science and social studies testing requirements for third-graders.

The waivers would give the schools more time to develop students' reading skills.

Virginia deputy education secretary Javaid Siddiqi tells The Washington Post that third-grade reading is a good gatekeeper for academic success.

He says students who are struggling to read also are struggling with comprehending the other subjects.

The board is scheduled to grant waivers to qualified applications in late June.

Extra state funding will be provided to schools that are granted waivers. The money will be used to help pay for a full-time reading specialist to work with struggling students.

LOCAL SCHOOLS REQUESTING WAIVERS:

FRANKLIN:
SP Morton ES

HAMPTON:
Cesar Tarrant ES
Jane H. Bryan ES
John B. Cary ES
Paul Burbank ES

NORFOLK:
Jacox ES
PB Young Sr. ES
Tidewater Park ES

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