Friday, February 25, 2005

No More Social Promotion - NOT!

Sounds sensible doesn't it? It's one of the tenets of NCLB. Here in Texas, if a child fails the reading portion of the 3rd grade or 5th grade TAKS test they are not supposed to be promoted.

Posted by Hello

There is one tiny fly in the ointment - and the flies as flies are prone to do are busy breeding. Retention does not put a hold on hormones or growth spurts. Puberty, especially among Hispanic and African American children makes an appearance at an earlier age than it used too.

We now have the first wave of the "double retainees" - children who failed first grade and third grade. This is the first year the 5th grade test comes with mandatory retention so we don't have any triples yet. We aren't looking forward to our first encounter. We have 4th graders who will turn 12 this spring, 2nd graders who are turning 10 and third graders who are about to turn 11. Eleven and twelve year olds are bursting with hormones and attitude and belong in middle school.

Kids, being kids look up to these kids - they are older, taller, more developed and have more street smarts. They are as one teacher put it "the leader of the lemmings". Today one head lemming convinced a girl to "make out" with him in the bathroom. Another gave his class an anatomy lesson at lunch by using a hot dog and two kiwi fruit. Yet another brought a condom to school -and knew what it was for. I hope he wasn't planning to use it (though if he was, I guess we should be happy he knows about safe sex).

Granted, we have no business graduating kids who are illiterate but keeping them in elementary school for an additional 3 years isn't the answer.

These kids can drop out at at age 16 - with only a 7th or 8th grade education at best. Scary thought isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Could to hear about the NCLB stuff from someone on the frontlines, I can totally see the frustrations with this.

Melinda said...

The book is right... nothing IS fair in 5th grade (good book, BTW). It seems like such a tough time to be a teacher, or a school librarian for that matter. Nobody (well, except for W.) likes to see kids get screwed by the system, esp. if they are kids you work with every day and have grown attached to. And I agree with the previous comment - it is good to hear about this mess from someone who is on the frontlines. Thanks for all the info.

Julie said...

Now this is really fascinating. I had long thought that "no more social promotion" was just what our school system needed. At least it would probably solve the problem of having to wait for Heather. But what you're describing is scary. What if we combined retention with single-sex schools? From what I've heard, girls and boys both do better in single-sex schools anyway. And to change the subject, hey, thanks for reminding me about Karen. I loved those books!

mulligan said...

We have the same problem in Florida. Here a child can be retained twice in 3rd grade if they don't pass one stupid test. In the near future, some middle school students will be driving.

Dee said...

I totally agree. I'm a therapist working with a 13-year-old sixth grader. I have a lot of faith in him and I think he'll go far. It's ridiculous that schools have such antiquated standards for retention or passing. Why punish our kids if they aren't being challenged or are being held back over silly things?

Not that reading isn't fundamental, mind you. I just want to know that I can get my kid a little bit of specialized service without calling him one of those tired ol' ADHD, Oppositional, or Asperger titles.

Library Lady said...

Rather than leaving them in the standard class, these kids need special classes, mentoring and other help so that they are able to catch up!
But that would cost money, wouldn't it. They'd probably have to hire more teachers, and buy new materials, and if they did that, what would be left for the administrators to spend on their vanity projects?