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Fewer Chicago Public School Students Repeat, But…

September 4, 2006

The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday (9/3, not yet in its online archive) that fewer CPS students had to repeat grades. The second line of the story, however, noted that CPS officials “attributed the improvement more to policy changes than schoolchildren’s performance.” To wit, in 2004, CPS ended the “practice of double-retention,” of “making the same child repeat the same grade more than once.”

Why does this change, if considered insubstantial by CPS officials, even make the news? What’s the point? And, is social promotion really that important? What’s the correct balance between education as a kind of socialization and education as the means by which individuals learn necessary facts, or become culturally literate? – TL

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