BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A new report shows reading scores for Louisiana’s youngest students have plunged for three consecutive years. That is drawing attention to one of the state’s top challenges for improving classroom achievement.

The Advocate reports more than half of students in kindergarten through third grades are performing below grade level, a potential harbinger of major learning problems. Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley told the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that the results are alarming.

Reading problems have been an issue in Louisiana for years. Experts say if a child is not reading on grade level by the third grade, the student is at risk of having long-term school problems.

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