The city’s new social promotion policy scares me. I keep imagining corridors filled with giant sneakers and puny 6th graders bumping into their bearded, muscular classmates who are repeating 8th grade.
It brings me back to our first tour of a middle school two years ago, when my then 5th grader had a funny reaction to the size of kids lurking in hallways.
“Mom,’’ he whispered urgently. “I can’t possibly go to this school. These are Middle School Giants!’’
It happened that the 8th grade boys who spoke on that day’s tour were particularly huge. Their voices had lost the high-pitched, pre-adolescent cadence. It seemed pretty intimidating.
But just imagine what middle schools are soon going to look like by the time my 5th grader graduates and the new social promotion policy takes hold. (Assuming he never bombs a major class or standardized test and gets left back, that is.) I predict huge improvements in the basketball teams.
The policy approved 11-1 by Mayor Bloomberg’s rubber stamp education board ensures that untold numbers of 8th graders are going to repeat the grade. The panel’s 11-1 vote came on Monday night as angry parents and protesters shouted “Shame on You,’’ according to the New York Daily News.
In support of his new policy, Chancellor Joel Klein says it makes no sense to send students “wholly unprepared into a high school environment,’’ and he’s right.
But it also makes no sense to turn middle schools into the Land of the Giants.
What about focusing our energies on helping struggling kids long before they face a fourth middle school year?
Read all of Liz Willen's Middle School Muddle