En Español Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Protesters of Eighth-Grade Promotion Policy Prep for Vote

Supporters
of the mayor’s tough new eighth-grade promotion policy will face off Monday
night with critics who think the focus should be on fixing schools, not
punishing kids.

One member
of the Panel for Educational Policy, which usually rubber-stamps the mayor’s
plans, has vowed to vote down – when the group meets Monday night – the
proposal to hold back eighth-graders who flunk one of four subjects or a standardized
math or reading exam. Another of the 13 members plans to ask that the vote be
postponed.

About 150
activists and parents who stormed Education Department headquarters last week
in protest of the policy are expected to rally and turn over to the panel 5,000
"ballots" signed by opponents. Critics say they are withholding
support until education officials explain what extra help and support will be
provided to as many as 18,000 affected students.

"Failing
students need a different and more intensive learning intervention, and thus
far the [Education Department] has failed to provide any description of such
interventions for retained eighth-grade students," said Manhattan Borough
President Scott Stringer.

Bronx
Borough President Adolfo Carrión asked Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for
"more detailed information" about how students will be helped and
where the money will come from.

Some
parents, particularly members of the activist group Coalition for Educational
Justice,** are infuriated that the
city is pushing ahead with a plan to fail kids before implementing a formal
plan to improve middle schools.

Education
officials said they are implementing some recommendations from a City Council
task force, such as targeting $5 million to 51 struggling middle schools.

"Improving
middle schools and ensuring that we don’t promote eighth-graders until they are
ready for high school … are not mutually exclusive," schools spokesman
Andrew Jacob said.

**Make the Road New York is a founding and active member.