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Student Achievement Opinion

Really!?! Joel Klein

By Eduwonkette — March 17, 2008 1 min read
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NYC’s Panel for Education Policy voted tonight to require 8th graders to score above level 1 on reading and math tests and pass core courses in order to be promoted. Meanwhile, last week Joel Klein wanted to invest a hypothetical billionaire’s bling in a research institute - “There are two things that I would do with this money. One, I would try to set up a national institute for educational policy that does serious research. This is an industry in which there are so many myths, and that’s because there are such large gaps in our knowledge right now.”

Really, Joel Klein? That’s surely true in some areas, but grade retention ain’t one of them. Really. It’s just that a recent paper by Brian Jacob and Lars Lefgren found that the 8th grade retention initiative in Chicago increased students odds of dropping out. That’s on top of a boatload of other studies finding the same. Why waste that billionaire’s money if you’re not even going to read the research? And why are 18,000 8th graders projected to be retained if your 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade retention initiatives were so effective? Really.

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