Michigan has a lead problem with its children in Flint, and a governor who failed badly his own accountability test. Many wonder why he is still governor. Some wonder why he isn’t in jail. But yesterday he signed off on a bill to fail third graders. How many children in Flint will wind up failing third grade due to the leaded water they drank? I’m guessing many.
So children fail, through no fault of their own, while the governor gets a pass. Fancy that.
I know there are exemptions to failing in Michigan, but that doesn’t excuse a rotten bill that highlights retention as something good.
We know that the fear of failing a grade for a child is on the same level as losing a parent. Once a child is humiliated by this action, they will have a difficult time ever fully recovering.
And children who fail third grade don’t do any better than those who are socially promoted, especially if those promoted get extra help.
So children who the State of Michigan failed by not protecting them—permitting the poisoning of their water—will now get a double whammy and get blamed for their school problems.
Let’s not forget children who don’t have lead poisoning, but, who, also through no fault of their own, have dyslexia or other learning disabilities.
Retention is punishment to children and it doesn’t work. We can’t forget that.
I don’t understand why legislators signed onto this bill. Don’t they realize the real research is against it? Have they bothered to read any of the studies? Anyone who claims retention works has obviously not done their homework.
Or, they are covering for their inability to create better programs. They have not sought other positive solutions of which there are many.
Or, they are just plain mean.
Children develop at different rates. Some make huge leaps after lagging behind. But when they are retained they can be so psychologically damaged that they forever see themselves as failures.
We know children who fail third grade have a much greater chance of dropping out of school. I have observed this in middle school where these children are bullied or become bullies due to their size.
Retention should be a rare occurrence with consideration of a wide range of circumstances. Parents and teachers should be the ultimate decision-makers and the child should be no older than kindergarten.
Even then, there are all kinds of alternative methods and placements that a school can do to assist a child without failing them.
But instead of focusing on special programs that will positively assist children affected by the lead in their water, Michigan has failed its children once again.
One can only hope Michigan residents will vote these individuals out as soon as possible and reverse this decision.