Thursday, January 17

BREAKING NEWS: Mayor moves to end 8th grade "social promotion"

It's been a couple of years since the mayor added another grade to the list of those in which a failing grade on either state test requires a child to go through the holdover process, but in his "State of the City" address today, Mayor Bloomberg announced that next year, 8th grade will join grades 3, 5, and 7 on that list.

The details have yet to be announced -- that must be what the chancellor's 3 p.m. press briefing is for -- but we can expect that 8th grade teachers and middle school principals can plan to spend time this spring reviewing the work of their 1-scoring students, as the automatic review process requires. And this new policy will be sure to cause problems for high schools and summer school planners, who will have to update their rolls based on the results of 8th graders' test scores.

The mayor also noted that the city is planning to step up vocational offerings in the public schools. A task force has been convened to supervise the 2009 launch of programs that will begin in high schools and continue in local colleges. And he also said that this fall, families will be able to log in to the test score monitoring system that principals and teachers already use. Hopefully it's less confusing than the progress reports, which befuddled parents and school officials alike.

The mayor had lots to say about things other than education. You should read the whole address and find out what else he has planned for New Yorkers.

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