Pros, cons of social promotion

DETROIT - Social promotion is now banned in Detroit Public Schools, but opinion varies on whether the ban will boost student achievement and at what expense, according to The Detroit News.

DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb signed an executive order last week immediately banning teachers from passing students who are not proficient at their grade level, The News said. School board members called it a political ploy by Bobb to gain more control, but Bobb said it was an effort to do something about academic failure in the district, according to The News.

Bobb said he particularly wants to stop promoting eighth graders to high school if they are not academically proficient, The News reported.

Others, however, said that retention alone will not work unless the student also receives intense academic intervention, according to The News.  Retention also becomes a problem if it creates a large gap in age or maturity among the students in a classroom, educators told The News.

State schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan told The News that school districts should abandon strict grade levels and allow children to progress according to their ability, The News said.

The Detroit News, "Sweeping social promotion ban could prove costly to DPS," Feb. 13, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Cost of Remedial Education," Aug. 31, 2000