N.Y.C. Retention Plan Draws Mixed Response

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To the Editor:

Grade retention might be in order for those students who don’t want to complete their work or take partial ownership for their own learning ( "N.Y.C. to Retain Low-Scoring 5th Graders," Sept. 22, 2004).

I’m afraid that the long-term ramifications of social promotion will be that we are taking away the logical consequences of failing to complete homework or class assignments and refusing to work within the parameters of a classroom environment (and society, for that matter).

Admittedly, the struggling student who is held back may have some issues, but the failing student who is socially promoted probably will never catch up, and may become more of a liability than if he or she had been held back.

If we are to leave no child behind, we must not promote those who don’t have mastery of the requisite academic skills.

Steven Shippee
Olympia, Wash.

To the Editor:

The research evidence clearly indicates that retention increases the likelihood of dropping out, and that this risk increases with each grade a student is retained. With the New York City plan’s possibility of retention occurring in the 3rd grade and again in the 5th grade, it is conceivable that the same students might be retained twice within a three-year period. This policy will not only ensure that students are “left behind,” but that they are, in effect, pushed out of school later in their educational careers.

Kathleen Maxwell
Albany, N.Y.

Vol. 24, Issue 06, Page 34

Published in Print: October 6, 2004, as N.Y.C. Retention Plan Draws Mixed Response

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