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(Capital Journal)   Proposed South Dakota bill would fail kids with reading problems. Bill is flunked by a clinical psychologist. Fark: Subby is the psychologist, who found out about the bill on Fark   (capjournal.com) divider line 154
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3738 clicks; posted to Politics » on 27 Jan 2014 at 9:11 AM (25 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-01-27 09:13:58 AM
Well done, Subby!
 
2014-01-27 09:14:35 AM
Well, subby- dish. Your letter piqued my interest, and I want a more fleshed out argument. My instincts agree with you, but I want evidence and argument.
 
2014-01-27 09:15:56 AM
Nice work, sir. (or madam as the case may be)

/somebody get that man a month of TF
 
2014-01-27 09:17:52 AM
You said "Fark" twice.
 
2014-01-27 09:17:54 AM
Yeah, that wasn't a terribly convincing counter-argument. Maybe you're right, but it also reads a bit like "we can't enforce educational standards because it could hurt our little snowflake's feelings."
 
2014-01-27 09:22:07 AM
Been awhile since we've done one of these, but BEHOLD THE POWER OF FARK!
 
2014-01-27 09:25:44 AM

t3knomanser: Well, subby- dish. Your letter piqued my interest, and I want a more fleshed out argument. My instincts agree with you, but I want evidence and argument.


This, though I can also understand if subby doesn't want her name associated with her Fark handle.
 
2014-01-27 09:25:57 AM
Well played, sir or madam!
 
2014-01-27 09:27:37 AM

the_foo: Yeah, that wasn't a terribly convincing counter-argument. Maybe you're right, but it also reads a bit like "we can't enforce educational standards because it could hurt our little snowflake's feelings."


It certainly has a NCLB-esque feel to it doesn't it?

They're second graders, though. I wouldn't expect much from them.
 
2014-01-27 09:28:47 AM
They should move on to the next grade, but during the reading portion of the school day they should wear the special cone-shaped "thinking cap."

boardingarea.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com
 
2014-01-27 09:29:43 AM

the_foo: Yeah, that wasn't a terribly convincing counter-argument. Maybe you're right, but it also reads a bit like "we can't enforce educational standards because it could hurt our little snowflake's feelings."


Agreed.  Also, when a second grader can't read well that's not the child's fault, it's the parents' fault.  They need a wake-up call to change how they're working with their child on his or her reading habits.  Maybe the kid is a slow developer but that's all the more reason to stay back for one year.

Maybe there's an argument to be made that second grade is not the appropriate time to make this stand, but a stand does need to be made.  Too many kids get promoted for the reason subby argues for and they end up in high school unable to read at an age-appropriate level.
 
2014-01-27 09:30:18 AM
4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-01-27 09:34:21 AM
So we advance them but advance them to The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too?
 
2014-01-27 09:34:46 AM

the_foo: Yeah, that wasn't a terribly convincing counter-argument. Maybe you're right, but it also reads a bit like "we can't enforce educational standards because it could hurt our little snowflake's feelings."


We kind of did that in the previous thread. In short, the research says that grade retention isn't a better policy than social promotion.

Here are some pdfs (that you can't link directly from Fark):

https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/pdfs/pubpres/FlawedStrategy_Par t One.pdf

https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/pdfs/pubpres/FlawedStrategy_Par t Two.pdf

https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/pdfs/pubpres/FlawedStrategy_Par tThree.pdf

http://www.nasponline.org/communications/spawareness/Grade%20Retenti on .pdf

That's not to say that social promotion is an awesome policy. It's just that grade retention isn't a fix for kids who can't read. Kids who are held back tend to do worse later on than socially promoted kids and it raises risk factors in lots of behavior like dropping out.

The real answer if a kid can't read is that there needs to be intervention to help them catch up. Making them repeat the same process that didn't help them in the first place isn't a solution. But you've tapped into the problem with education right now which is that it is a complicated subject but laws that look like they are "getting tough" on education make people feel like politicians are doing something.
 
2014-01-27 09:34:48 AM
While holding them back at 2nd grade may be a tad too extreme, I do think that there needs to be some gatekeeping in terms of skills between elementary and junior high, junior high and high school, and so on.  Yes, kids bring different skill sets to the table; but if you have a 5th grader that can't even read at 2nd grade level, that's something that needs to be addressed no matter how gifted the kid is.
 
2014-01-27 09:34:51 AM

grumpfuff: t3knomanser: Well, subby- dish. Your letter piqued my interest, and I want a more fleshed out argument. My instincts agree with you, but I want evidence and argument.

This, though I can also understand if subby doesn't want her name associated with her Fark handle.


Concur here.  But if I were a SD legilslator who thrives on the rage of Potato-Americans in their constituency, I wouldn't want something like Science to dissuade my opinion that "daffy bastards have no place in society, despite the fact that many of my constituents are alcoholic illiterates who might have had a better chance of succeeding in life if we had just focused more in investing in education rather than unique and supposedly profitable means to kill brown people in order to get their oil."
 
2014-01-27 09:42:46 AM
The letter gets to an important point - it's sort of silly to still have a system where you go through 5-6 years together with 25 other kids, even though all of you have different strengths and weaknesses. It's an antiquated model based on preparing students for an industrial age that we have long since moved passed. Like any industrial product, it's designed to produce students within certain tolerances, despite what the kids are capable of.
 
2014-01-27 09:45:31 AM
pfft.. you're a chick what wood ewe no?
 
2014-01-27 09:49:39 AM

the_foo: Yeah, that wasn't a terribly convincing counter-argument. Maybe you're right, but it also reads a bit like "we can't enforce educational standards because it could hurt our little snowflake's feelings."


Not quite. The social skills and emotional skills that develop during that age, as a result of the relationships we form with our parents, teachers, and classmates, are incredibly important later in life. It's less about the child's feelings, per se, and more about keeping them on a trajectory that allows them to better hone the skills that let them understand the people in their life. The technical term I'm referring to is "theory of mind" which refers the ability of us to attribute mental states - whether cognitive (e.g., beliefs, desires) or affective (e.g., emotions) - to other people based on the information we have about them, including prior experience with that person and perceiving and interpreting the social cues they display during the interaction. These "soft" skills are actually in incredibly high demand these days in a lot of occupations because of the greater reliance on team collaboration, whether intradepartmental, interdepartmental, or interinstitutional. And in contrast to reading, or math, or other useful skills later in life, these "soft" skills are not explicitly taught in school. The takeaway I got from the article was that it's a bad idea because it does not appear to weigh the costs and benefits appropriately, taking into account the other aspects of neuro-cognitive development that would be affected by being held back. Especially given that supplemental instruction would probably go a long way towards fixing reading deficiencies better than holding primary school children back.

/not subby
//cognitive scientist studying social cognition
///personal interest in neuropsychology, though
 
2014-01-27 09:51:38 AM
Good job subby!

I would have liked to have seen a better argument; one with evidence backing the statements.

Right now it reads like everyone involved already knows all the correct facts. But, as we know, Republicans often make up their own facts in order to believe whatever they want to believe.

Regardless, thanks for making the public stand against it.
 
2014-01-27 09:52:17 AM
Shouldn't this be in Geek?  Or is the risk someone will use this as a springboard for arguing for, or against, transgendered restrooms just too great?
 
2014-01-27 09:57:24 AM
It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to hold back students an entire grade because of one subject. It seems like students should be able to re-take a class (or get the remedial help they need) while staying with the rest of their class the rest of the time. They would still need to catch up in order to get a diploma.
 
2014-01-27 10:00:06 AM
I'll be the first to admit I'm old(ish).  But what ever happened to summer school?  Instead of holding a kid back over one (sometimes two, but usually one) subject, they took 4 weeks of summer school to try to catch up.

Is this not allowed anymore?
 
2014-01-27 10:00:38 AM
It may hamper them socially, but kids that are held back (gray shirts) tend to do better athletically later on because of the extra growth.

Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .
 
2014-01-27 10:00:50 AM
Nice and all, but a subscription-only article?
 
2014-01-27 10:00:57 AM

Big_Fat_Liar: Shouldn't this be in Geek?  Or is the risk someone will use this as a springboard for arguing for, or against, transgendered restrooms just too great?


Funny story here, my town had an issue about transgendered students using the bathroom of the gender they identify with.  Despite the best efforts of the American Taliban (read:Christians from out of town) they let their initial policy stand of letting them do just that.  And you know what?  The world didn't end.
 
2014-01-27 10:02:32 AM
Most of us will agree that baring a serious learning disability most kids should have the ability to meet the early learning standards.   I also think most of us will place the blame squarly on the parrent for not working with their child.  So baring a disability if your yut fails in school you lose your child tax credit.

/proud parrent of 2 amazingly briliant yet agonizingly dumb kids.
 
2014-01-27 10:02:59 AM

odinsposse: the_foo: Yeah, that wasn't a terribly convincing counter-argument. Maybe you're right, but it also reads a bit like "we can't enforce educational standards because it could hurt our little snowflake's feelings."

We kind of did that in the previous thread. In short, the research says that grade retention isn't a better policy than social promotion.

Here are some pdfs (that you can't link directly from Fark):

https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/pdfs/pubpres/FlawedStrategy_Par t One.pdf

https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/pdfs/pubpres/FlawedStrategy_Par t Two.pdf

https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/pdfs/pubpres/FlawedStrategy_Par tThree.pdf

http://www.nasponline.org/communications/spawareness/Grade%20Retenti on .pdf

That's not to say that social promotion is an awesome policy. It's just that grade retention isn't a fix for kids who can't read. Kids who are held back tend to do worse later on than socially promoted kids and it raises risk factors in lots of behavior like dropping out.

The real answer if a kid can't read is that there needs to be intervention to help them catch up. Making them repeat the same process that didn't help them in the first place isn't a solution. But you've tapped into the problem with education right now which is that it is a complicated subject but laws that look like they are "getting tough" on education make people feel like politicians are doing something.


An interesting read, but they never clearly identify the comparison group. In medical literature, this is usually considered a sign of poor research.

Examples:

"The majority of research fails to find compelling evidence that retention improves long-term student achievement."
Compared to what? Unlimited promotion? Separate classroom tracks? Home-schooling? Allowing students to take different classes in different grade levels*?

It is estimated that nationally 5% to 9% of students are retained every year, translating into over 2.4 million children annually. With an average per pupil expenditure of over $7,500 a year, this common practice of retention costs taxpayers over 18 billion dollars every year.
Compared to what? Is the argument that without this policy, we would pay nothing for these students? Or are they seriously making the argument that education is a sunk cost, not an investment that pays off later?


/*Our local school district does this. If a kid is advanced in math but not yet ready to advance in other subjects, they take math with a different grade, and the teachers bend over backwards to adjust schedules to help make this possible.  I love our public schools.
 
2014-01-27 10:03:42 AM

kvinesknows: pfft.. you're your a an chick what wood ewe no?



FTFY

/grammer nazee
 
2014-01-27 10:04:10 AM
Subby.
Not much of an argument.  "It would be bad"  Is that all you have?  What is your alternative?  There are hundreds of studies showing that large percentages of high school graduates do not read above a 6th grade level.  At what point do you say 'enough is enough'?  You sound like you are a charter member of the "participation award" group
 
2014-01-27 10:10:46 AM
A student who cannot read at the appropriate level will more than likely  struggle in just about all thier classes and should not  progress to the next grade. It's not fair to the student, nor the other children in the next grade.

It's not as if this its magicaly discovered at the last day of the school year that little johny can't read.  Throught the year the student is assessed and if the student needs extra help, tutoring, or what ever, great, but if by the end of the year the student hasn't mastered reading well enoough to pass the minimal level he shouldn't be moved forward.
 
2014-01-27 10:19:23 AM

draypresct: In medical literature, this is usually considered a sign of poor research.


In any research, that's a bad sign. However, the examples you provide aren't really exemplifying poor research.

draypresct: Examples:

"The majority of research fails to find compelling evidence that retention improves long-term student achievement."
Compared to what? Unlimited promotion? Separate classroom tracks? Home-schooling? Allowing students to take different classes in different grade levels*?

It is estimated that nationally 5% to 9% of students are retained every year, translating into over 2.4 million children annually. With an average per pupil expenditure of over $7,500 a year, this common practice of retention costs taxpayers over 18 billion dollars every year.
Compared to what? Is the argument that without this policy, we would pay nothing for these students? Or are they seriously making the argument that education is a sunk cost, not an investment that pays off later?


Those are from policy briefs, and not research articles. The purpose of a brief is to summarize the overall findings, not detail every aspect of the research methodologies from the references they used to develop the brief. The notes section does contain several references of where they got their information from.
 
2014-01-27 10:19:53 AM
Then I propose as a follow up plan once they graduate and are not qualified to do their job they should be promoted on a regular basis so their feelings don't get hurt.
 
2014-01-27 10:21:11 AM
Sure sounds like the special snowflakes can't be told they aren't the greatest things in the world.
 
2014-01-27 10:23:44 AM

draypresct: An interesting read, but they never clearly identify the comparison group. In medical literature, this is usually considered a sign of poor research.


Education research tends to be a little different because you can't lab test students.

Examples:

"The majority of research fails to find compelling evidence that retention improves long-term student achievement."
Compared to what? Unlimited promotion? Separate classroom tracks? Home-schooling? Allowing students to take different classes in different grade levels*?


Compared to the student's current performance. I.E. Student can't read at age 7, is retained, then can't read at age 8. That means no performance improvement. Long-term improvements generally means comparing them to the performance arc of the average student or of students at the same performance level. The studies they base those statements on are cited as well.

It is estimated that nationally 5% to 9% of students are retained every year, translating into over 2.4 million children annually. With an average per pupil expenditure of over $7,500 a year, this common practice of retention costs taxpayers over 18 billion dollars every year.

Compared to what? Is the argument that without this policy, we would pay nothing for these students? Or are they seriously making the argument that education is a sunk cost, not an investment that pays off later?


It's saying we pay extra for retaining kids. A student spends 13 years in the school system (K-12). If they are retained they spend 14+ years in the system. So we're paying for educating them an extra year. It's not saying education funding is bad but if grade retention doesn't work or has negative outcomes then that extra spending is a waste.
 
2014-01-27 10:31:38 AM
I guess we shouldn't let kids skip  a grade either?
 
2014-01-27 10:31:38 AM

Danger Mouse: A student who cannot read at the appropriate level will more than likely  struggle in just about all thier classes and should not  progress to the next grade. It's not fair to the student, nor the other children in the next grade.

It's not as if this its magicaly discovered at the last day of the school year that little johny can't read.  Throught the year the student is assessed and if the student needs extra help, tutoring, or what ever, great, but if by the end of the year the student hasn't mastered reading well enoough to pass the minimal level he shouldn't be moved forward.


How much of third grade is self-paced based on reading? As I remember 3rd grade, most instructions are verbally given by the teacher. There isn't a reading-heavy curriculum on 3rd grade, so there would be time to catch up if the correct intervention tools are in place. And, if the correct intervention tools are not in place, repeating the 2nd grade will not help.
 
2014-01-27 10:32:16 AM

odinsposse: The real answer if a kid can't read is that there needs to be intervention to help them catch up.


I always wonder why there is such a push to hold children back.  Wouldn't required summer school focusing on the curriculum areas where the child is weak be a more productive use of resources?
 
2014-01-27 10:34:57 AM
First of all: enough with the snowflake comments. As a school counselor, I can tell you first-hand the difficulties involved in holding a child back. To hold a child back at such a young age is a major indicator of several things, including but not limited to academic development, social and cognitive development, and the health of the child. All of these are indicators that help us figure out whether or not a child should be held back, but I can assure you that if they are poor readers in second grade, they're probably struggling in other areas. I say PROBABLY because we have systems in place to make sure children who are not proficient in a specific subject receive the interventions necessary to get them back on track.

Once we've exhausted our intervention resources, and ONLY then, do we discuss holding a child back, and it has numerous consequences- inadequate socializing with peers, lowered self-esteem, lowered motivation to participate, and generally an increase in behavior issues. The reason these usually follow one another is because their academic problems are generally analogs for their lives as a whole, but that doesn't mean that the parents will be able to affect change any more after you told them to be better parents than before. And even then, it's rarely as simple and cut-and-dry as "try harder" or "spend more time with your kid".

Being held back is a really big deal, and every time someone uses the term "snowflake", it's dismissive towards a pretty in-depth and well-documented issue that affects some kids life for a long time. I don't agree that holding a second-grader accountable is either reasonable or practical, and I don't believe that putting pressure on the child alone will solve anything if you don't involve parental and educational resources, including mental health services.

What if that were YOUR kid? Would you still mince around talking about Snowflakes having their feelings hurt?
 
2014-01-27 10:35:55 AM
odinsposse:

It's saying we pay extra for retaining kids. A student spends 13 years in the school system (K-12). If they are retained they spend 14+ years in the system. So we're paying for educating them an extra year. It's not saying education funding is bad but if grade retention doesn't work or has negative outcomes then that extra spending is a waste.

How do you calculate the cost of this?  Is the school budget proportionaly increased because a few students remain in the system for another year?  Are we paying teachers per stundent?
 
2014-01-27 10:36:37 AM

coeyagi: grumpfuff: t3knomanser: Well, subby- dish. Your letter piqued my interest, and I want a more fleshed out argument. My instincts agree with you, but I want evidence and argument.

This, though I can also understand if subby doesn't want her name associated with her Fark handle.

Concur here.  But if I were a SD legilslator who thrives on the rage of Potato-Americans in their constituency, I wouldn't want something like Science to dissuade my opinion that "daffy bastards have no place in society, despite the fact that many of my constituents are alcoholic illiterates who might have had a better chance of succeeding in life if we had just focused more in investing in education rather than unique and supposedly profitable means to kill brown people in order to get their oil."


Wow. You took a story about a bill that was an effort to improve education and help students who are falling behind and somehow managed to turn it into a spittle-flecked rant against the population of an entire state. A rant that misses the mark by a wide margin, I might add. Good jorb!

If you want to argue the merits of whether or not retention in 2nd grade is proper policy, then argue it. You could probably ask 10 different experts on the subject when the appropriate time to start retaining children is, and you would probably get 10 different answers. It's not a cut-and-dried subject. I see people on Fark constantly bemoaning the fact that schools just push students through with no regard to their academic achievement, resulting in HS graduates than can barely read. This is an attempt, misguided or not, to help to rectify that, and you somehow equate that to alcoholism, illiteracy and the desire to murder brown people. I think that says a LOT more about you than it does about the people of SD. It's too bad that your irrational bigotry has blinded you to the point that you cannot even string together a coherent sentence, much less intelligently discuss the topic at hand.
 
2014-01-27 10:37:10 AM
media.tumblr.com
 
2014-01-27 10:39:20 AM

Muta: odinsposse: The real answer if a kid can't read is that there needs to be intervention to help them catch up.

I always wonder why there is such a push to hold children back.  Wouldn't required summer school focusing on the curriculum areas where the child is weak be a more productive use of resources?


You can pretty much read the comments in this thread to see why. America is very punishment-focused in it's education policy. Acknowledging any complexity means you're coddling the little snowflakes and they just need to toughen up. Politicians know this and so education policies revolve around sounding like they are getting tough on those lazy educators and students. Because there is only one problem in all of education and it is laziness.
 
2014-01-27 10:40:54 AM

mgshamster: Good job subby!

I would have liked to have seen a better argument; one with evidence backing the statements.


Google "social promotion vs retention" and you'll get dozens of far more detailed discussions.  But you can all of them up with one quote:

"There's no reason to think that retention is good.  But the alternative--moving a child ahead when he's ill-prepared--that's not good either. ... You don't want kids just limping along through the system."

As for the focus on reading skills that subby seems to disagree with, there's virtually zero learning to be done in the third grade if you can't read.  If you can't read, you can't do science.  You can't do social studies.  Contrary to subby's assertion, you probably can't even do regular level third grade math.  So subby's suggestion is essentially to go ahead and promote them so that they can socialize with kids their own age, and maybe fully participate in art class.  Meanwhile, the entire class is slowed down so that the teacher can try to deal with the couple of kids who can't read, at a grade level where almost every topic involves reading.

Some kids aren't ready to learn to read when the school system is ready to teach them to read.  You are left with two basic options, neither of which is good.  You can hold them back in the grade level where reading is taught until they are ready to learn to read, or you can promote them and ask teachers who don't normally teach reading (and who have a class full of other students who can already read) to remediate their reading skills.

Neither solution is good.  But one causes a setback for one student.  While the other causes a set back for an entire class of students.  The better choice of those two options from the standpoint of the educational system should be obvious.

Note that saying "put more resources into teaching them to read" is not a solution.  If the child isn't ready to read by second grade, it's unlikely that any additional resources will fix that.  Not to mention the fact that keeping them in second grade for another year does exactly that.  It keeps them in a grade where there are resources for learning to read, with other students who are learning to read. It also allows them to learn reading with other students who are still learning to read, rather than having to be pulled out of a third grade class for an hour a day and sent to special ed teacher to work with them.

All of the studies that purport to show the harmful effects of retention suffer from terrible cases of "correlation is not causation" syndrome.  Yes, children who are retained tend to drop our and tend to have other behavioral problems.  No shiat.  Students who are retained are at the bottoms of their classes.  Obviously they are going to fail and have other educational problems as a higher rate.  The question should be: Do students that are retained do any worse on those metrics than students who are similarly situated who are socially promoted?  There don't seem to be any good controlled studies that show a significant difference either way.
 
2014-01-27 10:43:30 AM
Ms. Tervo is but one more quality graduate from the University of Maryland.
 
2014-01-27 10:44:32 AM

DeaH: How much of third grade is self-paced based on reading? As I remember 3rd grade, most instructions are verbally given by the teacher. There isn't a reading-heavy curriculum on 3rd grade, so there would be time to catch up if the correct intervention tools are in place. And, if the correct intervention tools are not in place, repeating the 2nd grade will not help.



I recall my third grade classes and they  were very heavy on reading. Outside of gym every class was founded in being able to read well. Homework was typically reading assignments, or researching topics (reading) and writing reports.
 
2014-01-27 10:44:54 AM

hammer85: kvinesknows: pfft.. you're your a an chick what wood ewe no?


FTFY

/grammer nazee


and favorited!
 
2014-01-27 10:45:02 AM
Speaking as someone who was held back in grade school (and it was the best thing for me) I don't feel comfortable leaving that decision to politicians and law makers as part of a law. Being held back should be a carefully considered exception, not a set in stone rule.

Kudos subby.
 
2014-01-27 10:45:08 AM

mod3072: coeyagi: grumpfuff: t3knomanser: Well, subby- dish. Your letter piqued my interest, and I want a more fleshed out argument. My instincts agree with you, but I want evidence and argument.

This, though I can also understand if subby doesn't want her name associated with her Fark handle.

Concur here.  But if I were a SD legilslator who thrives on the rage of Potato-Americans in their constituency, I wouldn't want something like Science to dissuade my opinion that "daffy bastards have no place in society, despite the fact that many of my constituents are alcoholic illiterates who might have had a better chance of succeeding in life if we had just focused more in investing in education rather than unique and supposedly profitable means to kill brown people in order to get their oil."

Wow. You took a story about a bill that was an effort to improve education and help students who are falling behind and somehow managed to turn it into a spittle-flecked rant against the population of an entire state. A rant that misses the mark by a wide margin, I might add. Good jorb!

If you want to argue the merits of whether or not retention in 2nd grade is proper policy, then argue it. You could probably ask 10 different experts on the subject when the appropriate time to start retaining children is, and you would probably get 10 different answers. It's not a cut-and-dried subject. I see people on Fark constantly bemoaning the fact that schools just push students through with no regard to their academic achievement, resulting in HS graduates than can barely read. This is an attempt, misguided or not, to help to rectify that, and you somehow equate that to alcoholism, illiteracy and the desire to murder brown people. I think that says a LOT more about you than it does about the people of SD. It's too bad that your irrational bigotry has blinded you to the point that you cannot even string together a coherent sentence, much less intelligently discuss the topic at hand.


Thank you for proving my point about illiteracy.  Many =/= all.
 
2014-01-27 10:45:22 AM

odinsposse: You can pretty much read the comments in this thread to see why. America is very punishment-focused in it's education policy. Acknowledging any complexity means you're coddling the little snowflakes and they just need to toughen up. Politicians know this and so education policies revolve around sounding like they are getting tough on those lazy educators and students. Because there is only one problem in all of education and it is laziness.


That is why I like the idea of requiring summer school.  It does present the impression that they're getting tough.  "No summer vacation for you 'Little Miss 9 Year Old' your getting extra, personalized instruction on how to read!"  See, it is easy to frame it as punishment.
 
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