With no fanfare, no press conference and no photo op, Mayor Bloomberg has ditched his 2004 pledge to end social promotion — the practice of advancing students to the next grade regardless of their ability to perform at grade level.
The Department of Education announcement was sent out on a Friday, presumably so it would appear in Saturday newspapers, which are the least-read of the week. The email said that the Bloomberg flip-flop came “in response to . . . feedback and research showing that being retained multiple times can be detrimental for students.”
Duh. It’s not news that putting slow 16-year-olds in a class of 14-year-olds can cause problems. Nor is it news that promoting them a grade when they’re unprepared can also cause problems.
But, instead of solving the problem back in 2004 (which would involve putting children who aren’t ready for the next grade into separate classes for additional help), Bloomberg trotted out his magic fix. When that didn’t work, he backed off. But he’s still clueless.