Duval County overriding teachers and pushing through promotions.
First let me say I have never thought it good policy to retain a child based how they did on a high stakes test, which sadly has been SOP for third graders in Florida for years now.
That being said I have no problem with a child being retained if they don’t master the material they are supposed to have.
Now some may point to statistics that say retained children are at a higher risk of dropping out or entering the school to prison pipeline as reasons not to hold them back.
To which I would counter, pushing kids through just starts a cycle where they fall further and further behind and never catch up only to be eventually graduated out without the ability to do much.
I also believe kids that are retained should get the extra help they need, which may include wrap around services to catch them up.
Finally I am also a big fan of summer school because some children need a longer school year to master the material and less time in between grades so they don’t lose what they have learned.
Okay I have rambled on enough, let’s get to it.
If a teacher wants to retain a student they must now fill out a teacher retention form and get their decision approved by the district, you know, because we need to micromanage teachers more.
Furthermore retained children can automatically appeal.
This might not be a problem except I spoke with one teacher at an elementary school who said last year every appeal but one was granted by the district. Only one out of dozens was denied. I hear all the time about how teachers are pressured to pass children even if they don't deserve it or haven't mastered the material.
We can’t continue to push kids along and wonder why they are not successful and we can’t continue to blame teachers for poor results when their hands are tied, their decisions overridden and they and the children are put in positions where success is unlikely.
We have to start doing things the right way, even if it is a little harder and takes a little longer. Our teachers and children deserve it.