A Georgia law passed in 2001 was supposed to stop social promotion, but state school districts are promoting nearly everyone anyway, “even if they fail a second-chance retest, or blow it off altogether” according to an analysis of 2006 and 2007 state data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A state law aimed at stopping so-called “social promotion” says students in grades 3, 5 and 8 should repeat the year when they fail certain standardized tests. The findings show state and local educators are balking at enforcing the 2001 law — routinely resorting to an appeals process that allows schools to promote students who never pass the tests.
State School Superintendent Kathy Cox argues that retention “should be a last resort” and defends use of the appeal process, which allows promotion if the principal, parent and teacher agree. “They’ve used that as the rule rather than the exception,” former Gov. Roy Barnes, who championed the law, tells the AJC. “Did people think that I was not serious?”
Er, apparently so Governor.
Rarely discussed in social promotion debates is the effect of no-stakes testing and infinite second chances on the empty homily of “high expectations.” Kids aren’t dummies. First we narrow the curriculum to prep kids for state tests, then we teach them through our actions that the tests really don’t matter anyway. The perfect storm of mediocrity.
Update: Opinion on the AJC’s Get Schooled blog is strenuously in favor of enforcing the No Social Promotion rule.