In Ontario, every Grade 8 student passes into high school whether they are ready or not. It’s called social promotion or part of the McGuinty government ‘s so-called success strategy. As my archive indicates, I have written about this topic many times before. However, this 2007 Toronto Star article tells it like it is, that it’s the teachers responsibility — not the student’s — to make sure all Grade 8s pass.
In New York City in 2012, it appears that the exact opposite is the case. A total of 7000 students were expecting to graduate from Grade 8, yet because they had not yet been advised of the results of their end-of-year state exams by the time of the graduation ceremony, they not only couldn’t graduate but were barred from the ceremony.
Then, low and behold, the results came out after the graduation that most of the 7000 passed after all! Of course that would have been after many of those students had already started summer school.
So, what does a New York City DOE (Department of Education) spokesman say? We are extremely sorry for delay? Naw. She simply says something to the effect that since most of the students who were mistakenly marked as failing passed only barely, they could still benefit from additional remedial work.
Either way education bureaucrats are failing students. In fact, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that by treating 13-year-olds like this, on either side of the border, its child abuse.
In Ontario, its abuse because the bureaucrats and politicians are failing kids by implementing carte blanche social promotion policies that do not require some form of assurance that Grade 8 students have attained the basic skills they will need in high school.
In New York City, bureaucrats and politicians are failing kids for the opposite reason. They assume kids have failed even before they get their standardized test results and punish them further by not even allowing them to watch their peers graduate.
Two extremes. Unbelievable!
Endnote: I did not blame teachers in either of these two cases because they do not make policy. They implement it. In Ontario’s case, they follow policy or they are fired. As the Star’s article title states: Failure is not an option. In NYC, they simply administer the exams. It would have been the DOE who marked the tests and school officials who barred students from graduation ceremonies.