So what does the bill do now?
- It is no longer a 3rd grade retention bill. Senator It was amended to apply to 1st graders based on the belief held by many that third grade was too late to begin interventions.
- The parents of the child can override the retention and have the child promoted to 2nd grade.
- If a parent does not request a meeting to discuss the issue within 15 days of getting notice of the child's performance, the teacher will make a recommendation to the principal who will review it and make a recommendation to the superintendent. The superintendent then makes the decision.
- Exceptions to retention also include demonstration of reading skills on a teacher developed portfolio or a promotion recommendation from the teacher that is supported by both the principal and the superintendent.
- The original bill provided grants to non-profits to provide intervention services. It now makes those grants available to school districts as well.
As a kindergarten teacher I am often using the phrase "developmentally appropriate." Is that bill even developmentally appropriate? Students need time to grow and learn at their own pace. Teachers help give the tools, but the pace is often determine by the student. We often see those "aha" moments in younger grades when a student "gets it."
How devastating it could be to young six and seven years old students to be retained because they weren't quite up to the same level as their peers....which could possible be for a whole host of reasons.
Students begin their school career at all different levels....preschool, no preschool, daycare or not, home full of books or no exposure, single parent, split family, grandparent raised....and the list goes on and on. It is near to impossible to expect all students to be on the same level in 18 months of formal education.
I am disappointed in our senators.