Get Rid of Retention And Social Promotion
We should be using our knowledge to maximize learning for children, not to make schooling easier for adults.
When New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg drew a line in the sand and said, "No more social promotion in our schools," one could argue that he was doing what leaders are supposed to do: set clear policy. But because it is unlikely that he and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein will give educators the authority and the tools to do the job, it’s more accurate to say that the mayor is just the latest in a long line of leaders to fall into the phony trap, social promotion vs. retention.
And therefore, it will be just a matter of time before New York schools go back to business as usual, which is social promotion, the practice of advancing students with their age group despite academic shortcomings. The usual alternative, retention in grade, is what most of us think of as "staying back."
Retention and social promotion are the educational equivalent of Dr. Doolittle’s two-headed llama, "Pushmi-pullyu," going nowhere and wasting a lot of energy in the process. Neither one works, both do more harm than good (particularly to very young children), and yet school districts can’t...
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- Perspectives Charter Schools, Chicago, IL
- Assistant/Associate Professor, Literacy
- Regis University, Denver, CO
- Elementary Principal
- Forest Grove School District, Forest Grove, OR
- Princeton Public School District, Princeton, NJ
- Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
- Lake Forest School District 67 & 115, Lake Forest, IL