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Amy Mahonski
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Thank you for posting this article. In my experience as a special education teacher, retention has rarely been a solution to the problems of struggling students. I have witnessed it only to help in the rare instances when children started school at a younger-than-normal age, and consequently had a severe lack of maturity as compared to other age-appropriate grade-level peers. A child who has experienced retention also carries the lifelong stigma of being the "flunked" child. It is no wonder that the high school drop out rate of a retention student is 2 to 11 times higher than that of his promoted peers. It saddened me to read that 72% of special education students had been retained at least one time. Teaching 5th and 6th grade learning support, I carefully observe all students in both grades, whether they are already identified or not. For those students who show signs of academic struggle, I closely progress monitor their progress (or lack of progress) and request a referral for evaluation after meeting with parents. I have to be their greatest advocate. Yes, it makes more work for me ... but that's what we teachers are supposed to do - provide the best for our students.
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Dec 6, 2011