New York education policy

colist at colist at
Fri Mar 12 09:00:58 CST 2004

From: "JOHN M. BEAM" <beam at>

Dear colleagues:

The following may be of interest to organizers active around education 
justice issues and particularly to those of you who have been following 
the Bloomberg administration's efforts to ratchet up the requirements 
for third graders in New York City Public Schools.  The newest version 
of flunking kids will require third graders to meet a cut score in a single 
high stakes test to qualify for promotion to fourth grade.  

The NYU Institute for Education and Social Policy and the National 
Center for Schools and Communities at Fordham University have just 
sent a joint policy briefing, First, Do No Harm, to the members of the 
Panel for Educational Policy, who are scheduled to vote on the policy 
next Monday evening.  We expect that the grassroots portion of the 
advocacy community here will back the hearing room in the Tweek 

In addition to reviewing the overwhelmingly negative evidence against 
retention as an achievement improvement strategy, we cost out some 
alternative uses of the funding for retention.  We also raise a factual 
point that has been mostly ignored in this debate, which is that the 
Department of Education already has a retention policy in place which 
flunks thousands of students each year and which often also links many 
students' fate to a single high stakes test.  We estimate the increases in 
dropping out related to retention policies.  

Rhetorically, we reposition the debate by emphasizing that, in fact, 
social promotion and retention are not opposites but related excuses for 
not correcting the long standing failures of practice and resource 
distribution in the New York City Public Schools.  

The position paper should be up on both our websites later today: and  



John M. Beam, Executive Director
National Center for Schools and Communities
Fordham University
33 West 60th Street  Second Floor
New York, NY 10023

More information about the Colist mailing list