Thursday, January 9, 2014

Letters: Glenda Ritz cares about the children

Cindi Pastore is a NEIFPE member from Indianapolis. In this letter to the editor she argues against using retention as a high stakes consequence for standardized tests.

Glenda Ritz cares about the children

November 22, 2013

Who really cares about our children?

As members of the State Board of Education and Gov. Mike Pence’s Center for Education and Career Innovation spar with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, I’d like to be clear in pointing out that Ritz based her decision to run for office on her informed wish to abolish the retention consequences for third-graders failing the IREAD test. As a retired teacher of students with special needs, a voter and a grandparent who now works with adults working to get their high school equivalency diplomas, this is exactly the reason I voted for Ritz. I felt that the retention of third-graders (or any other grade level student) for any other reason than prolonged absence from school due to health defied everything I’d ever learned about sound educational practice and child welfare.

Sadly, from what I can tell from reading media reports, attending a state board meeting, and listening to audio of the meetings, the appointed members of the State Board and the appointed director of CECI do not have even a glancing interest in ending this disgusting practice. In my view, all that seems to hold their interest is control of the meetings, control of the agenda of the meetings, and control of the Department of Education.

As the public makes up it’s mind about this ongoing struggle, I’d like to present the following information: The National Association of School Psychologists has issued a powerful statement against grade retention of students. Here is an excerpt: “In addition to lower levels of academic achievement in 11th grade and a greater likelihood of dropping out of high school, (a 5 to 11 percent greater likelihood) retained students are less likely to receive a diploma by age 20. Adults who repeated a grade are more likely than adults who did not repeat a grade to be unemployed, living on public assistance, or in prison.”

Again, I ask, “Who really cares about the children in our state?” My answer is Superintendent Ritz.

Cindi Pastore


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