Reimagining Education

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Social Promotion Fails the Grade

Here’s sobering news from the Missouri Department of Higher Education:  Nearly 40 percent of state high school graduates in 2009 who subsequently attended Missouri state universities required remedial classes that did not count toward their degrees.

This is a significant problem.  In the St. Louis metropolitan area, the numbers are even starker, with more than 3,000 of the 7,067 graduates who enrolled in state-funded schools needing to ‘catch up’ academically with their fellow students.

Much of this has to do with the concept of ‘social promotion,’ by which students are passed on to the next grade in order to keep them ‘on track’ with their colleagues, regardless of whether they actually comprehend what is being taught in classes for their grade.

This is a comparatively new phenomenon in American educational history, following in the wake of the federal “No Child Left Behind” edict of the past decade.  Unfortunately, a child not adequately prepared to advance to the next grade will suffer consequences down the road when he or she enters the job market as an adult.  In our increasingly competitive global marketplace, such ‘social promotions’ amount to demotions for the children and, ultimately, for our society.

To fully realize the potential of each child, it is imperative that every student advance at a pace appropriate for his or her skill level.  To ignore this reality is to ignore the ultimate results.

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