Are You Smart Enough to Promote a 3rd Grader?

These students are looking to be promoted to 4th grade in Florida. Read their stories and decide who should begin 4th grade in the fall. Are you smart enough to promote a 3rd grader?

Student A reads at a 2nd grade level, has a learning disability that was identified in his former home state where he completed third grade, he just moved to Florida and will enroll in his local public school in the fall. Since he arrived in the summer, he has not taken the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA).

Student B also has a documented reading deficiency, learning disability and ADHD. His grades have been good at his local private school, which he attends on a publicly funded McKay scholarship.

Student C reads at a first grade level but has never been evaluated for learning disabilities at his Florida public school. Tired of testing and test prep, his parents had him minimally participate in the Florida Standards Assessment and the SAT10. They will enroll him in a local private school this fall.

Student D has attended a local private school using a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship since 1st grade. His teachers say he is doing fine, his grades are good, but he has never been evaluated with any state mandated assessments.

Student E attends his local public school and has a documented reading deficiency for which he is assigned 30 minutes on iReady each day as remediation.  Last year, he failed the FSA (was in the bottom quintile) and was retained. This year, he was absent during state testing and he refused to answer questions during retakes.

Student F had a difficult 3rd grade year. He failed almost all his classes but he, to his teacher’s amazement, scored a 2 on his FSA.

Student G attends his local public school. He has straight As in his gifted classroom. At the beginning of the school year, his progress monitoring assessment showed he read at a 9th grade level. He won the Perfect Attendance Award. Tired of incessant test prep, his parents had him minimally participate in the Florida Standards Assessment and the SAT10. He plans to stay at the local public school he attends with his 2 siblings.

Who should be promoted to 4th grade this fall?

The answer is: it depends… what county do you live in?

If you live in Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Hillsborough, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, or Putnam, ALL children would go on to 4th grade.

However, if you live in Duval, Orange, Seminole, St. Johns, Sarasota or St Lucie, ALL students are promoted EXCEPT Student G. Student G, despite having a documented reading ability well above grade level, will be required to repeat 3rd grade. Currently, gifted, proficient children, who minimally participated in the FSA, are being retained while non-proficient children, even some who minimally participated in the FSA, will go on to 4th grade. Student E, who underperforms in all areas and refused state testing, qualifies for promotion due to state statute that forbids mandatory retention twice.

Were you smart enough to promote a 3rd grader?

It’s a trick question, because the retention of proficient students is, frankly, stupid. Clearly, the retention of proficient students who minimally participated in the 3rd grade FSA is punitive and meant to ensure compliance with mandated testing. The real question is who is directing the retaliations, I mean retentions?

Last year, during the Keep Florida Learning committee meetings, Commissioner  Pam Stewart insisted the DOE does not punish students.

If the FLDOE does not punish students, then why aren’t they stopping this abusive practice? Who is directing the retention of proficient 3rd graders and why aren’t educators in non-retention counties speaking out against these abuses? What did all 67 of Florida’s superintendents mean, last fall, when they unanimously declared they had lost confidence in the current accountability system for the students of the State of Florida?  Why aren’t we hearing protests from the thousands of teachers who converged on Tallahassee, last January, to protest high-stakes testing and other statewide education policies they claimed were harming students?

Parents are speaking out in ever increasing numbers. We are waiting for educators to join us. Who will speak out against education malpractice? Who will condemn these abusive practices? When is “enough” really enough?

3 thoughts on “Are You Smart Enough to Promote a 3rd Grader?

  1. Reblogged this on Politicians Are Poody Heads and commented:
    We have truly gone off the rails in way too many areas of this country.
    Punishing children. Worshipping at the altar of “all testing, all the time,” despite the damage that will do to children.
    All in the name of, let us face it, not “higher standards,” but privatization of public schools and profits for the testing, software, curriculum-development, charter school industries, and the rest of the Education-Industrial Complex. 😦


  2. About this testing mess that’s knotting children and parents … and fouling education in the Manatee schools …

    There is no virtue in making children so brave that they might withstand the idiocy of adults. Nor is there any virtue in lying to children so as to protect adult ridiculousness. And when adults trip over their own commandments and reason away the subtle wounding of children … then they themselves have committed a great sin.

    What has become of us? Why have we arrived at this moment when children become fair game in an adult controversy? Instinct tells us never to place children in the middle of a muddle. But here we are … hearing unbelieving tales of punitive actions against children because parents exercised their right as … as parents!

    Where is the wisdom in gluing children to desks for hours as they squirm their way through some asinine educational gauntlet that has no real purpose other than to pay homage to some testing god? Who thought that a good idea?

    Moreover, how is that testing has been elevated to the modern Baal … a false educational god? Test are instruments. Informing instruments. They should never have such impact for children of this age.

    Year-end promotions are now complex, overly regulated, bureaucratic dilemmas filled with do-or-die drama for?… for children! … little humans who are, perhaps, 100 months old. Does that disturb anyone?

    Should the fragility of childhood be so manhandled by pseudo-educators who have never spent a full week in a real classroom? Is this healthy stuff?

    That state officials and disconnected bureaucrats … who no nothing of classrooms and learning and children … are now pounding out edict after edict in legalese no less! … is proof-positive that this entire reform has traveled into a special and frightening Twilight Zone.

    Regardless of what chest-thumping officials might demand, parents still preside over the decisions of their own children. No state edict, no home-grown prescript has more authority and more potency than the wishes of a parent.

    State governments and their bureaucratic mechanics have sabotaged teachers and their classrooms with this race to testing madness … and caught up in this warped competition for control are these small learners.

    They are days beyond infancy. In their small universe, teachers are super-heroes and schools are sacred structures that open up the broader world to their small eyes. Now … with this mania … you have handcuffed their teachers, sabotaged their experience, and fouled and frightened their embrace of school and learning.

    Their natural childhood pursuit is to conquer the monkey bars … as well as their multiplication tables. That’s the correct recipe for learning … a school dedicated to balance … a balance that has now deserted too many schools for very bad reasons.

    Whatever technicalities there may be in this issue of promotions for almost-babies, one thing is certain: adults have again magnificently displayed their talent for over-regulating and over-obsessing about things of extremely small value.

    Stop complicating that which needs no complicating … and for God’s sakes, get out of the way of those professionals who live with these young learners week after week after week. Teachers and parents should be the ultimate arbiters of a child’s performance and progress decisions … not some squinty-eyed bureaucrat or some half-informed politician. The state should never cast such a dark shadow.

    For children, school is a majestic cathedral. A near shrine where every minute should be crammed with as much wonder as a minute might hold. To disturb that atmosphere is to violate the inviolate,

    A school has no place or space for anyone unable to plug into their memory bank for recollections of their own childhood. If one cannot stay linked with the memories of their own past, perhaps they shouldn’t be in the memory-making business at all.

    Denis Ian

    Liked by 1 person

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