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20POLICY article about mandatory summer school

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  • Allen Dyer
    Aug 1, 1999
    • 0 Attachment
      "Pupils Sweat Out the 'Big Test' -- End of Social Promotions Forces
      Chicagoans Into Summer School". By Kenneth J. Cooper
      _Washington Post_, Sunday, August 1, 1999; Page A03

      considering the state board of education is floating mandatory
      summer school balloons, the post has a timely look at what is
      happening in chicago this summer.

      some points raised in the article:

      1. 25,000 failing chicago public school students are attending a
      six week summer school.

      2. "social promotions", which have been debated since the 1940s,
      are currently in disfavor among the national politicians of both
      parties.

      3. chicago's mandatory summer schools date back to 1996 and require
      students that fail 3rd, 6th, or 8th grade to attend a 6 week summer
      school.

      4. chicago's mandatory summer school requires students to pass
      a standardized test at the end of the summer to advance to the
      next grade.

      5. chicago spends $50 million a year on the mandatory summer school
      program and only 50% of the students pass the test at the end of
      the summer.

      6. chicago promotes about 1,300 15 year old 8th grade students who
      fail the standardized test to academic half way houses between 8th &
      9th grade because they are too old to remain in school with younger
      students.

      7. in the early 1980s new york city tried a similar program but
      abandoned it because of ambiguous results.

      8. studies have shown that holding students back to repeat a grade
      is a flawed solution because:

      1. students held back are more likely to drop out of school and,
      if held back twice, are almost certain to drop out of school;

      2. few students learn more by repeating a grade; and,

      3. students held back tend to be disruptive in the classroom and
      make it harder for other students to learn.

      9. other programs being tried by chicago include:

      1. voluntary summer school for 1st & 2nd graders that have fallen
      behind;

      2. after school tutoring AND SUPPER;

      3. mid-year testing to allow early warning and also to allow
      for early advancement notice; and,

      4. free vision tests (surprise: 30% of failing students needed
      glasses!).

      10. "Our goal is earlier, more often and constructive intervention," said
      cozette buckney, academics supervisor for chicago's 430,000 students.


      abstract by allen dyer