Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of the Monday night massacre, when Bloomberg fired two of his own appointees to the Panel right before the vote on the third grade retention policy. In their stead, the Mayor appointed two high level officials of the Health and Hospitals agency and the Housing Authority, who sit on the Panel to this day, neither one saying a word except to vote yes for every single administration proposal.
See this NY Times account the day after the Monday night massacre, in which Klein said: ''I think it is a legitimate vote,'' he said, adding: ''I don't think it was rigged.''
And he insisted the school system had proper checks and balances. ''The mayor has said when he runs for re-election that he should be held accountable,'' Mr. Klein said. ''That is the democratic way.''
Since then, test-based grade retention has been extended to fifth and seventh graders, and now is being proposed for 8th graders as well. According to the News, “only 1,300 out of 77,000 eighth-graders were held back last year, but nearly 18,000 would be in danger of failing under the new proposal.”
The News article also describes how yesterday, a group of parents stormed Tweed, demanding to speak to Klein about the policy: "About 50 members of the Coalition for Educational Justice rushed the front door of education headquarters and chanted "Let us in!" and "We want Klein!"
Since then, there have been two authoritative studies, both conclusively showing that holding back kids hurts rather than helps them . See the Chicago Consortium report called Ending Social Promotion: The Effects of Retention, which shows that third graders who were held back did no better than those who were promoted; and that sixth graders who were held back did even worse.
Even more pointedly, check out Ending Social Promotion: Dropout Rates in
But by the time next year’s eighth graders drop out of school, Bloomberg and Klein will be safely out of office. What have they learned in four years? Apparently nothing.