Letter in the mail.

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by ecteach, Jul 10, 2013.

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  1. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I just got a letter in the mail saying that if my son (who is going into the 3rd grade) isn't proficient in reading by the end of next year, he will be held back and won't be able to go to 4th grade. I was really upset, because as far as I knew, he was proficient. Then I realized they sent the letter to ALL parents. I find this so tacky. It could just be me that feels this way. What do you think?

    Sometimes I wonder if I would have ever made it out of elementary school if the standards were like they are now. :eek:
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What?! WHAT?!
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree it is tacky. Never should have been a blanket letter to everyone.
     
  5. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    It's possible that the school had to send the letters home to all parents because of state law. It's a mandate in Arizona.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think it's so bad. It seems like they're just trying to give everyone a heads up that this is what's going to happen. I'm sure they're under a lot of pressure to get kids passing (as they should be) and have decided to stop social promotion.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don´t know. I think there might have been a better way to discuss this, like at orientation night, or Open House. This does seem like a tacky way to deliver the information.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I do not agree with automatically retaining students for not being proficient in reading. I'm really shocked by this.

    And it should have been made clear in the letter why it was sent and that it was sent to everyone.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I am not informed enough about this topic, but my gut reaction is that I do think it's a good idea, or at least a better idea than continuing to allow students to advance in grade level without the requisite skill. At the high school level, reading deficiencies are glaringly obvious and seem to be the single biggest factor in success versus failure in the classroom.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't like the blanket approach. I'm also curious how they intend to help the child reach proficiency during his or second year of third grade as well as interventions for the third graders identified early as having difficulties.
     
  11. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    The 3rd grade guarantee, how I loathe it. We have to write into our IEPs that our kiddos are exempt from it. It's insane.

    While I understand why they're sending letters like that---I know it is going to panic more people than it is going to inform.
     
  12. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    You're assuming you will reach as many people on orientation night, or at an Open House. USPS will reach nearly everyone.
     
  13. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    But it is impersonal, and very very likely inaccurate. Seems more like a scare tactic.
     
  14. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    We sent those letters home with all our students who were in the red on DIBELS.
     
  15. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    How is it inaccurate? Ohio is enforcing this policy during the upcoming school year.
     
  16. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Our letters went home in my kids' report cards (2nd graders).
    It is a new NC law- children MUST pass their 3rd grade test. If not, they must retest. If they fail a second time, they must attend summer school and retest (3rd test). If they fail again, they are placed in a remedial fourth grade class with at least 90 UNinterrupted minutes of reading instruction. They retest AGAIN (4th test) in October. If they do not pass this test, they are moved back down to 3rd grade mid-year.

    There appears to be no provisional for any kids- including ESOL, EC, or NCExtend2 kids.

    Honestly, when I read this it made me more determined than ever to get out of North Carolina!
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    If the number of students is anything like California I don't believe for one second they are going to hold those students back...not one second.

    In my school alone that could be close to 60% of the class.

    I just see it being a scare tactic, I will be interested to see if they actually hold them back, change the test difficulty, change the scoring, or just don't follow through.
     
  18. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Yeah we sent our letter to all of my 2nd graders at the end of the year. We sent them to everyone and not just those who were not proficient. My P said it is a state law and she wanted to inform all of the parents and she wanted to have her bases covered in case it becomes an issue next year. The parents can't claim they were never told. My guess is they did a blanket letter to all incoming 3rd graders as a way to protect themselves...
     
  19. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    It states, "Your child will be eligible to retake the reading test in late October to achieve mid-year promotion and have the 3rd grade retention label removed."

    So, half-way through third grade the child will be promoted to 4th grade. How does this work? How in the heck can this work? This sounds like a big mess.

    I understand that kids should be proficient in reading. Actually, it would be awesome if kids were proficient in all areas. But, it's not reality.

    I wonder what happens if the kid never becomes proficient. Do they stay in 3rd grade FOREVER?:eek:
     
  20. whollyconsumed

    whollyconsumed Companion

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    It is state law in TN. We are required to notify parents.
     
  21. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Our P told us we will have a 3/4 combo class so they will not have to physically change classrooms. If they fail the October test, that will be their 4th test of the year! (Read my previous post for the steps.)
    We legitimately asked if we could end up with students driving to school. My P was not amused, but I have had students that are just never going to pass. I've had a few that were smart enough, but the testing anxiety was that bad. I've also had kiddos with IQs as low as 57 (my personal lowest). I'm sorry, but they are never going to pass.
     
  22. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    For those states that are required to send the letters home by law, what is happening?

    Is threatening to hold them back working?

    Is it actually raising student achievement?

    Are students being held back with consistency?

    How does it work if they re take the test in October and then are promoted to 4th half the year behind 4th grade standards?

    What does it look like staffing teachers for those held back and then promoted mid year?

    OR is California the only state that has so many students not reaching proficient in reading...maybe other states are far ahead of us?
     
  23. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    In Arizona it goes into effect next year so there is no data yet. It does not apply to kids who are in the approaching category on the state test, or if they are labeled ELL or SPED.
     
  24. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Not the case.
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    In California our categories are:advanced, proficient, basic, below basic, and far below basic. Would approaching be considered basic in California..it sounds like it. This would make a huge difference in numbers.
     
  26. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    For staffing, schools will most likely have combo classes. The focus is less on retaining kids, and more on providing adequate interventions in K-2. Schools have to have a school-wide literacy plan in place.
     
  27. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Yes, I believe so. We have run preliminary numbers and it looks like 3000+ students would be retained. But the word retaining is not really accurate.
     
  28. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Sometimes being a teacher, and a mother is frustrating. I don't teach at the elementary level, so I never knew about this law being passed. I bet most parents just threw the letter in the trash and didn't think about it. Here I am stressing. My child is really good at reading. He is always on grade level or above, so why am I stressing? If it were a test for math, then I would have reason to be concerned. :)
    But, I wonder about "my students." All of the kids I teach have either a moderate or severe cognitive disability. No matter what anyone does, they will never pass. Will special ed. kids be given an exemption?
     
  29. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This isn't so bad in my opinion, especially when you add in EL and sped students.

    I wonder if the OP meant the same as Arizona. Approaching/basic is not proficient.
     
  30. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    In Arizona, Special Ed students are exempt. I don't know about any other states.
     
  31. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah, and this is what I was referring to earlier, something would be modified and they would not truly retain that many students in that blanket type manner.

    It sounds like a "scare" tactic. My district(maybe the entire state) did this with every school 800api by 2013 or something. 5-6 years ago this was everywhere, signs, school stationary..etc. Last few years it has basically 100% disappeared as only like 2 schools out of 15 made it. Haven't seen or heard a word.
     
  32. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Texas had a third grade reading "no pass, no go" test that started around 2004ish, but that has since been rescinded. We still test in third, but the fifth grade reading and math are still "no pass, no go".

    There were some positives. It did help get some parents involved. I worked in a very low income school with a history of low parent involvement. Having a law back up the fact that there were standards the kids had to master did up the level of concern, and in the years before the law was in effect, it was rather hit or miss.

    Of course, there were lots of negatives as well. The test put a lot of pressure on people who had only been alive eight or nine years....and their teachers. Kids who were behind were stressed out knowing they might be retained. I even heard that a parent threw up in the parking lot after dropping off her kiddo on test day because of her nerves.

    The parents of the first group tested had a mass mailing when they were in kinder, were given brochures in each grade before, and it was mentioned at parent nights. I still had parents who said they had never heard of it when I had met with them in third.

    Long-winded response to the OP, but I think a mass mailing wasn't out of line, but the author of the notice should have mentioned somehow that it was a blanket letter to all.
     
  33. Pisces_Fish

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    Maybe it was a mistake, but I felt my kids needed to know. I told my class about this new law at the end of the year. There were lots of tears from some of my kids. I wondered if I had done the right thing. But it's not fair to the kids if they don't know NOW what they're up against next year. I also told all my parents at the last conference of the year. Many parents were (rightfully) ****** off...as they should be! Thankfully, no one took out their anger on me.
     
  34. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    They probably sent the letter to cover themselves so parents can't complain that they didn't know. They probably didn't have the time to identify each student who seemed less than proficient. In general, I do think the standard is fair. At one point I was working with a 7th grader (regular ed) who did not read well and it was extremely difficult.
     
  35. a2z

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    There are ways to word information letter such that the reader is aware that the information isn't about a specific student. For example, "We are sending this information to all of our rising 3rd grade parents to ensure they are aware of the MYSTATE regulations regarding promotion to fourth grade. This letter is not an indication regarding the status of your child but is for informational purposes only."

    Our district writes this letter rather than leaving it up to the individual principals to make a mess of it.
     
  36. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    The 3rd grade guarantee starts with this upcoming school year. Teachers who teach 3rd grade must have a Master's in Reading or a reading endorsement on their license or they can be involuntarily moved to another grade level.(out of pocket expense for the teacher) Our district had to have in place a plan-for the state- of how we will retain/service those students who do not pass. (more than 50% of our 3rd graders-district wide-will not pass.) My district will need to hire more 3rd grade teachers and reading tutors after this year.
    This is not a scare tactic in Ohio. It is reality. We all hope that the ODE and governor see the error of their way and abolish this law in the future. For now, it goes through.
     
  37. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    :yeahthat:

    Perhaps there should be two letters prepared; one for students who are already testing as proficient, and one for students who have been identified as at-risk. Is that possible to identify in 2nd grade?
     
  38. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    This starts in Oklahoma this next year.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    What is the alternative? Give them a high school diploma when they can't read well enough to pass those classes?

    I don't know what the answer is. I have a suggestion, but it's been shot down so many times, I fear repeating it, lol.

    All I do know is that these kids that are passed along when they can't even read end up having huge problems in high school. High school, where we can't just pass them along because they outgrew the desks. Where, for the first time in their lives, they actually have to be proficient in something to get credit for it.
     
  40. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I didn't know about the law until the letter was in my hands, ecteach! I would have retained my student reading on a beginning of the year first grade level. He had improved so much with me (was level C when I got him in January and was up to a level F when I sent him on), so I didn't retain him. Now I've set him up for failure in 3rd grade :(
    I feel he would have benefited more from a 2nd grade retention than being caught in 3rd grade purgatory.
     
  41. Lobo

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    This is being considered in New Mexico and may pass next year.
     
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