Threat of Flunking Motivates Students

THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER

The Waco, Texas schools are featured by the national magazine in a report on "the broad national trend against social promotion, which reporter Ben Wildasky called "the long entrenched practice of advancing students to the next grade even if they haven't learned what they should have."

The Waco, Texas schools are featured by the national magazine in a report on “the broad national trend against social promotion, which reporter Ben Wildasky called “the long entrenched practice of advancing students to the next grade even if they haven't learned what they should have.”

“To be promoted under Waco's two-year-old policy, kids in grades three through eight must pass their classes, have a 90% attendance record, and pass the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, a standardized test,” Wildasky wrote.

The results so far: “Skyrocketing scores have moved [Waco] off the state's low-performing list and are likely to earn it a top rating this year,” said Wildasky.

The new policy has helped students and parents to concentrate on the goal of promotion and eventual graduation, and Wildasky reports that faculty and staff—right down to the cafeteria workers—have been enlisted to help students succeed.

Some have criticized the program because of the pressure it places on students to succeed and because it has already increased dropout rates and the number of area youngsters who do not have a high school diploma.

The district is also a poor one with a large number of Latino students, giving rise to charges of racism as the motivation for the schools “crackdown.”

“If I were a racist and wanted to devise an educational system that oppressed minorities, I would have continued with the one we had,” said a former member of the school board.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT “Threat of Flunking Motivates Students.” National Catholic Register. (July 25-July 31, 1999).

Reprinted by permission of the National Catholic Register. To subscribe to the National Catholic Register call 1-800-421-3230.

Copyright © 1999 National Catholic Register


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