After reading the following article I began to ask myself what problem is this new DOE policy going to address? and what is the solution? If the change in policy is meant to help the HS system by filtering out reading an writing problems then I believe he is on to something. Freshmen classes would be more academically sound for the first year. I suspect however that sophomore reading and writing skills would be about the same.
However if the change is being put in place to genuinely help the struggling students I question this practice. With the advent of the smaller HS should not they be better equipped to handle the struggling student rather than the overcrowded middle school. Holding students accountable for failed instructional practices upon hearing strikes an awkward tone in my ears.
Imagine if a doctor punished patients for not getting better with the hope that they would not return for more medical care.
It sounds like the we are almost literally throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Excerpted from the NYTIMES:
"Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday unveiled strict new criteria for promotion to high school that could, if current testing patterns hold, put nearly a quarter of New York City’s eighth graders in danger of spending an extra year in middle school.
The new policy, which Mr. Bloomberg announced in his State of the City address, would require next year’s eighth graders to score at a basic level on standardized English and math exams, and to pass their classes in core subject areas in order to be promoted. It is stricter than similar policies that the mayor has put in place in the third, fifth and seventh grades, all in an effort to end the practice of social promotion, in which students are moved ahead despite academic problems."