Parent who is opposed to retention

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pandora, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora New Member

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    Mar 19, 2015

    Hello, I have a problem and I was wondering if any other teachers could give me some advice about it. I have a student in my class who is very low. This is 1st grade and he has great difficulty reading. He was low when he came into my classroom and he has struggled all year. From all indications he had a very weak Kindergarten and didn't come with the background skills that he needed. The parent is extremely opposed to retention and they say they are going to fight it. I'm not sure what to do in this type of situation.

    Technically in my district the school has the final say when it comes to retention but if the parent causes enough of a stir then they always give in to the parent. I could see this parent threatening to get a lawyer to fight it. I think administration would rather have me just pass the child on regardless in order to avoid the drama. However I really feel like I cannot justify passing this child on. I would hate to just pass on a student who is on such a low level. I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place here. Has anybody else ever been in this situation and how did you deal with it?
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Mar 19, 2015

    Never had to personally deal with it, but I'll give my opinion based on what I've seen and heard.

    Retention being significantly beneficial seems to be the exception to the rule. The general thought seems to be that if a student can't learn A and B the first time around, what good does repeat do?

    Now, based on his poor kindergarten experience and the fact it is such a young grade, this could be an exception moment.

    But even if he was retained, you would need a very specific intervention strategy. Which would also apply if he were moved forward.

    The school might see it as he will need intervention either way, why not please the parents?

    The times I've seen it work was when there was a maturity issue interfering with the learning.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Mar 19, 2015

    I've seen people state time and time again that retention doesn't work. But no one stops to see if passing along a child works.

    The argument is that if they didn't get it the first time why should we think they'll get it a second time around? Well, because they're older. Because they've seen the material before. Because repetition helps everyone learn.

    My question is - if they can't get first grade level material why would we expect them to get second grade? When it should be more challenging and they don't have the necessary foundation?


    To answer the OP, I wouldn't pass along the child. I'd submit the grade the child earned and leave it at that. But in my state the principal and superintendent both have the authority to override my grade. They can change it themselves if they have no problem letting parents run the school.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Mar 19, 2015

    I believe that if a child is going to be retained, it needs to happen in grades K-2. I don't feel as though it's beneficial in the upper grades (mainly because they're reading to learn as they get older).

    I would present the facts to the parent and let them know that they do have the final say in whether or not he is retained. Remind them that you've given your professional opinion (and hopefully admin will support you throughout the meeting) and that you're certain they'll make a decision that they feel is best for their child.
     
  6. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Mar 19, 2015

    If this is your premise, you'd have to retain the child every year, so they'd be graduating when they were 36ish.
    Unfortunately, if a kid is this "low" (I hate when that term is used for children) retention normally does not help. Has the child been tested for special education?
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I always liked retention until I saw what a horrible job it really does in helping students. This is not what I want to believe at all. I really wish it worked well. I can see the logic in it, and I think we all can.

    The reality though is retention rarely works for students even in first grade. Out of 800+ interventions researched in education, retaining is 2nd as being the least effective. (The 1st least effective is having students switch schools frequently).

    I am not saying to not consider it, but I am saying to look at other options. Summer school, quality regular tutoring, and several other interventions have a much better track record in helping a student.
     
  8. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Mar 19, 2015

    I agree with this. I feel like it's also not as much of a blow to their ego when they're so young -- the older they get, the more concerned kids become with whether or not they appear smart to their peers, and being retained could easily affect that self-image.
    When they're K-2 it's not as big of a deal, and that's really where the foundations are. It's better to get extra practice with foundational skills early on than have a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader who is still struggling with those skills. However... that being said, the only experience I have with a student who had been retained was with a student who also qualified for special education services. He did make progress, but there were a lot of other factors involved.

    Unfortunately I don't have any advice in regards to the parent. :confused: Unless there's a way to phrase it so it convinces the parent that you really just want the student to have the best chance possible at success, and that retention is the best option for this child.

    Is there any way to make it a sort of probationary thing? Like... the child does summer school or something similar and if there's progress, they can move up?
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Since it is a boy, a case could be made that some boys are slower to mature, but I would hesitate to present retention without concrete strategies and interventions that may help this student be significantly more successful the second time around. What interventions have been tried, and what interventions would come with this retention? Simply repeating without significant changes has to be the very definition of wasted effort.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I've never seen any evidence that retention is successful except for a situation like a major illness. Instead, retention more often just serves as a blow to the student's ego, and ends up masking a more serious problem (ie: a learning disability takes longer to be uncovered because the student isn't quite as far behind his/her peers as you'd expect a typical third grader with LD to be).
     
  11. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Mar 20, 2015

    Is the parent willing to have the child evaluated by the child study team for an IEP? Maybe see if a disability is in play? It'd help you (or the next teacher) and the parents to see where the child is at academically.

    Sounds like it's most likely a case of not grasping enough in K, but better safe than sorry.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Mar 21, 2015

    I'd bet that the majority of people that say there is no good reason to retain don't work with classes of such students when they're in high school.

    Right now I have one class of 24. I had 32 in the class two months ago. Eight students dropped out or were expelled. They didn't fit well in the classroom to start, considering they were 17 and older in a freshman class.

    Of the remaining 24 I have six that genuinely want to learn the material in order to get a decent grade. The rest have no intention of doing what is needed to pass the course. None. MOST of them have never earned a passing grade in science. The rest have, but it was during early elementary school years. The rest all received passing grades though. Just passed along. Year after year.

    They would bet their mothers' lives on the fact that I will pass them this year. That even if the teacher doesn't bump up their grade, the principal will still pass them along. They seem to have forgotten the older students that were repeating the class but are no longer enrolled. Why should they get quiet during instruction? Why should they stay in their seats during lecture? Why can't they laugh and joke while I'm teaching? They'll still pass - they always have.

    Sucks for them, sucks for me, right? Sure I follow through with behavior consequences but it still negatively impacts the few students that want to do well. I'm a full week behind in my lessons because of dealing with the behavior associated with "passing them along."

    If a child cannot get a foundation, he/she will never get the next level.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 21, 2015

    At this point there should be a paperwork trail attached to this student...interventions and strategies used, outcomes of those actions, intervention and referral committee meeting...document, document, document. Most likely a school (at least in my area) won't CST unless these things have already happened OR if the parent puts an evaluation request in writing...
     
  14. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I've taught 6th, 7th,8th, and 9th. I think retention is probably the worst idea I've come across. There's nothing like having a 14 year old in class with 11 and 12 year olds. And, retention hasn't worked because they are "low." As a parent myself I would fight it to the end. As a grandparent of a special needs child I encourage d my son to fight. I teach Special Education and have students with a wide range of cognitive abilities. I want each of my students to grow as much as possible during the year. I'm suppose to be an inclusion teacher; but I really work with them ( and a few gen ed) in small group. I see much more progress when I teach them at instructional level versus grade level.....but common core and testing has made this more difficult. If I saw where retention made a difference I might change my mind. I know there will always be an exception to the rule.
     
  15. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    you would think so. But sadly no. 3 students were ruled in to sped this year in the 7 th grade. The paperwork went back to head start!!!!!!
     
  16. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Mar 21, 2015

    I'm on my phone so sorry about including my other post and all the other mistakes
     
  17. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Mar 21, 2015

    I'm not fully against retention, and I agree with YTG that, if it's to be done, it should be done in K-2. My little sister was retained in first grade and it helped her tremendously. She was able to catch up, wasn't that much older than her peers, and ended up taking AP courses all through HS.

    Retention over and over and over again isn't effective, but having the extra supports to catch up on 1st grade material before pushing forward in 2nd grade material will probably benefit this child.

    Is he struggling in all areas to the point where retention would be beneficial? Or is he only struggling in reading? If it's just reading, have you pushed for an evaluation? In my district, the teacher can collect data, work with the SIT team to implement interventions and accommodations, and then speak with the parents about an evaluation if necessary.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oh...just because there's a trail doesn't mean a student qualifies for or will be evaluated for sped services..( especially if there's no parental push!) .but without a documentation of concerns it's often a case of do not pass go, do not collect an IEP. :2cents:
     
  19. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    Mar 21, 2015

    I don't have a problem with retention. In my district a student can only be retained once in grades K-2 and 3-5. In middle and high school it's a little different. Students can fail a class, but not be retained to the same grade unless the class is English. So if a student fails 10th grade English the student is considered a 10th grader the next school year, regardless of the other classes taken.

    This year I have three who will be retained. That was not the initial plan. I wanted to refer them for Sped, but my state changed the rules. We have to have 30 weeks of intervention data instead of 10. The new math intervention was not ready until October. The reading intervention program we used in the first semester of school was ruled out for the second semester, so those weeks of intervention no longer count. Did I mention there are not enough weeks in the second semester to get the data needed? So these three students won't be able to get started with the referral process because of all of the setback we had. My choices are to move them on knowing they won't be successful, or retaining them so they can get a second chance on the material while going through the referral process.
     

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