Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Noteworthy News: Clemente, Take Two

Apparently, Roberto Clemente Student Development Center has a new principal--Ben Edmondson, former Scarlett Middle School principal--and the Scarlett position is posted. Edmondson sparked controversy at Scarlett Middle School in choosing to hold back 5% of kids at the school--mostly kids who were not doing well academically. Clemente (see my earlier post about the school) actually is a grade 8-12 school.

Holding kids back in middle school is controversial because it is associated with higher dropout rates. Whether this is because kids are "over age" for their grade, or because these kids would have dropped out anyway is, I think, still somewhat of an open question (but if you know more, share your knowledge!) On the other hand, social promotion has its drawbacks too, in that if kids get promoted through high school, but never learn the basics, what is the point of school? (See here for my earlier post on adult literacy.)

One thing that is for sure is that the "retention or promotion" debate shows just how limited our toolbox is for dealing with kids who need significant help, and Roberto Clemente expands the options. I'm sure that was what made Clemente attractive to Ben Edmondson, and vice versa.

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