Push to End 'Social Promotion' Hits Obstacles in New Mexico
To me, ending social promotion is not an example of education reform. It is a mandate that students and schools improve without going far enough to provide the resources and ideas to make that happen. I recently saw a statistic that correlated high school drop outs with kids who had been retained in grades K-8. In some cases, multiple retentions may lead directly to a child dropping out of school. I think it is more likely that the same factors that led to a student being retained are at play in his/her decision to drop out. In any case, there's no way that I can see retention as a solution to low student performance.
In high school, it's possible that a student's apathy toward school causes her to fail and that retention might make that student reconsider the amount of effort she is putting toward school. Not in third grade. I don't think that retention would "scare" any third grader into finally trying to do well on his state test. No way.
So, while I hope that NM schools get better and social promotion becomes less necessary - I support Mary Jane Garcia (the "obstacle" in NM... according to the above article) and echo her doubts about ending social promotion.