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NCLB Outrages

Parents' role in retention concerns board

Ohanian Comment: I'm not sure what the board treasurer means by this statement: ""If you keep pushing your child to fail again, then they're going to fail again, again and again." Whatever it means, no good can come from pitting schools against parents. This is not to say I much less puzzled by the superintendent's statement: "Protocol is the way we're going to get to where we want to be." Are these people writing letters to parents? This may explain the problem.

By Chad Livengood

When teachers deem children not ready to move on to the next grade, a letter is sent home to parents who are asked to make a tough decision with one of two answers.

Yes or no.

Members of the Northwest School Board expressed concern Wednesday about how teachers inform parents that their child is not making the grade.

Across all grade levels, 77 students were recommended for retention last June while 10 actually repeated grades this year, district figures shows.

Parents tend to say no because of the stigma associated with being held back, school leaders say.

Officials said the No Child Left Behind federal mandate seems to give parents more retention power, a situation some educators find troubling.

"Sometimes we're not leaving them behind, their parents are," board Treasurer Connie Sayles said. "If you keep pushing your child to fail again, then they're going to fail again, again and again."

Trustee Peter Jancek urged administrators and teachers for better procedures.

"We're failing to relay to our parents to say why their child is failing," Jancek said during Wednesday's board meeting.

Administrators say new protocols are being explored to better educate parents on the decision.

"There has to be more done than sending a letter," Superintendent Dennis Desmarais said. "Protocol is the way we're going to get to where we want to be."

Retaining students can not only have an impact on the students' lives, but also on a school's overall standardized testing scores and federally mandated progress.

Citizen Patriot
2006-03-24


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