NYC DOE and Mayor: Social Promotion For Some, Not Others. Gotta Win the Statistical Game Any Way They Can
It seems that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein are desperately trying to win at a game of jacks, but forgot to buy a ball or cant find it. Anyone out there got the ball? Can this person please come to New York City, 'cause we're in a tailspin. Betsy Combier
Queens Chronicle, April 21, 2005
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
Are you telling the truth every time you declare you are ending social promotion? Social promotion, as defined by you and your cohorts, means passing students on to the next grade who have not mastered the basic skills of that grade.
You use standardized tests to determine this, which is an issue within itself. However, this election year, you have also decided to set new limitations on which students take the test, eliminating the students who are often the lowest performing in each grade.
This year, it was required that students who take the test must be in an English speaking school for five years. How can third graders, who have only been in school for four years, be eligible for the test? Only if their parents checked off a box on a form before they entered kindergarten that they speak English as their primary language at home. Mere hours before the exam, students who were born in New York City and have been in the public school system for four years, in an English speaking class, were disqualified from taking the test and were given a free pass to fourth grade.
Students who were repeating third grade because of their scores on the 2004 Citywide Test were told that they were not taking the 2005 test and were given a free pass to fourth grade. The majority of the parents of these students have still not been informed of these changes.
Parents have been working diligently, and under stressful circumstances, to prepare their children for the test. We ask you to please explain to these parents that their child repeated the grade for no apparent reason and is now eligible for fourth grade.
We ask you to send interpreters in over 40 languages to explain to parents that the rules were changed at the eleventh hour.
Please tell the parents of the students who did take the exam why their children took the test and will be held to rigorous standards set by the New York City Department of Education, but why the child sitting next to them, performing at the same levels in all basic subjects areas, did not take the exam and will not be held to the standards that you have set.
Explain to them that because their child passed a test 10 months ago and the student next to them did not, the latter student receives a free pass to fourth grade and that their child's reward for passing the exam is yet another high-stakes exam.
Explain to them further, Mr. Mayor, that their child was given 65 minutes to read 10 reading passages and answer 50 questions and that if they couldn't do it, there will be a seat for him or her in summer school.
And after you have done all of that sir, please look back at your budget and explain to the taxpayers why you allocated millions of dollars to give extra assistance to "At-Risk" third graders and then disqualified them from taking the test.
Explain that all of your insistence that social promotion has ended is nothing more than a farce.
Will the results of the test have an effect on No Child Left Behind funds for those needing help in literacy? Do we really know how our English language learners are performing in literacy? How can we hold back students based on a test that every student has not taken? How can you promote merit pay based on student achievement when a valid assessment is not administered to all students?
Teaching in New York City has always been a challenge, one that we have willingly taken on. However, this year has been more frustrating and disheartening with each passing day.
You complain about the teachers on a daily basis in the press. Maybe if you walked a day in our shoes, you would see that we are here for the students, and we put their best interests first. If you did this, you would see results immediately, without revamping curriculum or spending millions.
The Third Grade Staff of PS 7,
Ron Isaac: NYC DOE's Social Promotion Policy is On/Off. Take Your Pick
Department of Education: Social promotion is a thing of the past!
Educators: Social promotions is a thing of the present and future!
By Ron Isaac
The DOE talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. They found out that it's much easier to break a fall when you're tripping over words than when you're stumbling over lies. The DOE is telling parents something very different from what it knows is reality.
That's called lying. Where's the evidence? Here's what the entire third-grade staff of P.S. 7 in Queens has brought to light.
The Department of Education forced some students to take the citywide standardized test while exempting some of the lowest performing kids in the grade and promoting them automatically. Students who are repeating the third grade because of their score on the 2004 citywide test skipped the 2005 exam and are being treated the same as if they had passed it.
The child who aced the citywide exam less than a year ago was forced to tackle it again, but the kids whose past results proved that they do not have basic reading and comprehension skills will be kicked up in grade. Millions of dollars were earmarked for helping them develop these skills, but not a dime was spent for that purpose because the kids were disqualified from taking the test.
Why were they disqualified? Could it be that the results would have made the DOE look bad? Is passing a single test the only reason that aid would be provided to students desperate for skills needed for success in life?
Another eyebrow-raising policy of the Department of Education is its requirement that third-graders must have been in an English-speaking school for five years to be eligible to take the test. That's like demanding that a week have eight days.
Children whose parents didn't check an almost invisible box on their child's school admission papers are being given a free pass to the next grade, even if they attended four years in a public school.
This change in rules was executed like a magic trick. Parents were notified a few hours before.
Parents must never let the Department of Education out of their sight. There's no telling what other magic tricks it has up its two-timing sleeve!