Should We End Social Promotion?

All children have potential and value!  They need to learn to be able to become who they are meant to be. Reading and writing holds the key to discovery and innovation.

Reading and writing are everything. Yes, as I have previously written, math skills are all important to the development of design and technology. BUT, without reading and writing skills, you can’t do math. If you can read and write, it is my belief, you can DO ANYTHING!

Do you want to bake a cake?  Make the perfect burger? Diagnose a car problem?  Look it up. DO the research. Read carefully. If you read and comprehend, the world is an adventure. The possibilities of what one can learn and do are unlimited.

The “trend” currently in education is to end social promotion-in both the third and eighth grade. Of course, this idea has controversy. Why put a student behind? Will a student fit if they are older than others? What about social/emotional wellness?

These questions are all valid. The reality is something has to be done to save the children. They need to catch up and if time will help to do that, with appropriate interventions, I say DO IT! There are already many kids (boys in particular) who were held back in Kindergarten because they were supposedly “not ready.”  I fault this practice, as there may be a few who truly aren’t ready at that point, but there is a lot that is unknown about their learning potential. Most parents do this because they want their child to excel at sports or they think they will have an academic advantage (and they will for a while). Holding a child back to become a football star doesn’t sit well with me. I have had administrators tell me–but look, Johnny got a football scholarship to college. OK. Can he read?

Holding a student back to catch up and master mandatory and all-important literacy and numeracy skills is APPROPRIATE.  We need to do this. The opportunity for kids not to fall behind is one of the best gifts you can give a student. Parents are reluctant here, disappointed perhaps, but think about it. In ten years, who will care?  That student will master necessary skills and possibilities will unfold. We need to find a new “label” so kids don’t feel inadequate. That is not what they need.

Promotion should not be denied based on one achievement test score. A body of evidence to include the test scores, classroom work and teacher input must be included. Parents should not have the last word! Remediation and intervention must be done and include placing the student with a high performing teacher and any necessary interventions to improve the weakness.

It is unfair NOT to give an opportunity for students to achieve and be their best self. Teachers, parents and other stakeholders must use all available tools to teach a child. You never know what will light the fire.

When I was young, I loved to read — whether it is to learn about something or escape into an imaginary world. I loved reading with and to my children. Those are some of my fondest memories. I know now I can learn about anything because I can read. All children should have this gift.

Categories: 21st Century Education, Arts Integrated Education, blogging, creativity, critical thinking, Education reform, educational budget, effort, Life Long Learners, mastery, reading, Uncategorized, web 2.0 for classroom, write to express, writing, writng for funTags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different resluts. If we don’t change what the child gets when they are retained, then it’s as if we have just said the same thing louder and slower. They still won’t progress.

    • Yes, I agree. The idea is that things do have to be different. Multiple types of interventions are needed to change direction for the student to progress. What you say applies to the entire education system – why would we keep doing the same thing and expect different results?

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