Thursday, January 12, 2012

Retention Revisited

Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Jason Glass, the Director of Education for the Department of Education. He was summarizing many of the proposed legislation dealing with education reform in Iowa. Many topics were covered, but as always, one of the most emotional discussion was about "3rd Grade Retention" for students not proficient in reading.

After I listened to Dr. Glass, I think we need to take a step back and focus on what the core issue is. We are NOT talking about the traditional model of simply holding a student back (we know that this has not been an effective strategy). What we ARE talking about, is a structured PK-3 system for literacy instruction.

Within this system, there would be processes in place for students to receive interventions and differentiated instruction for students who are not reaching the level of competency we need for them to be successful.

When listening to all of this a light bulb went on in my head...isn't this what we should be doing anyway? We can not like a system that helps students read by the end of 3rd grade, or we can continue to socially promote them and set them up for failure and an academic career of frustration. Lets pull together and make some positive changes.