Indiana Governor Calls for Ending ‘Social Promotion’

By Erik W. Robelen — January 21, 2010 1 min read
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(Correction: A careful reader has informed me that Gov. Brewer of Arizona is a Republican, not a Democrat, as I first wrote.)

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana is pitching a plan to end the “social promotion” of 3rd graders, but it appears likely to face some serious obstacles.

“We must address the single greatest cause of student failure, the inability of so many of our children to read proficiently,” the Republican governor said in his Jan. 19 State of the State address. “Sending an illiterate child on to higher grades is unfair to the next teacher, damaging to our state’s future, but cruelest of all, disastrous to the young life being blighted by that failure.”

A version of the plan was approved this week by the Senate education committee, but it apparently is facing trouble in the appropriations committee, the next step on its way to consideration by the full chamber, because of concerns about its financial implications, according to the Associated Press.

In general, the Senate bill says that 3rd graders who are not reading on grade level may not be promoted to the next grade, based on performance on the state’s language arts test. It includes some exceptions, such as for students with disabilities and those for whom English is a second language. It also says schools must provide intensive reading intervention to students who are not promoted.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, a Democrat Republican, also called for an end of “social promotion” in her State of the State address this month, though I’ve been unable so far to get details on what exactly she has in mind.

“We must stop promoting children who cannot read by the end of 3rd grade,” she said in her Jan. 11 State of the State address. “And we should know well before 3rd grade those students who are falling behind and get them the help they need.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.