Imagine that someone offered you something and said, “This might give you a short-term performance boost. If it does, we’re not sure how long the effect will last but we know it will diminish over time. The boost might be just a year or two and it’s all but certain that it won’t last more than three or four years. Moreover, it’s extremely probable that after that you will suffer significant negative consequences FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Do you want it?”
You might take that gamble if you were a professional athlete (see, e.g., steroids), but most of us would not. In the case of smoking, illegal drugs, alcohol, and (sometimes) fatty foods, the government actively discourages us from making that choice. But when it comes to 3rd grade retention, some state governments not only are allowing the choice but requiring it.
I know you’re 8. Take a puff!
[cross-posted at Education Recoded]
Wow! I know you like to toss a grenade out once and a while to get the thoughts moving, but this is more of an atomic bomb. I, for one, believe in matching the student’s academic coursework to his/her ability and learned skills. My idealistic approach to this would allow a fluid transition in both directions. As a parent, my wife and I did this, and we have not regretted it for one single day. Oh, and just for the record…we did not encourage smoking or illegal drug use to our children. Just in case you are thinking I’m a little radical. 😉