School Retention Rates, Educational Funding and Your Child’s Future

Since the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) was passed in 2002, there have been many consequences for students and their families. Some of these consequences were intended while others were not. The most direct consequence for students and their families are increased school retention rates (not progressing to the next grade due to exam failure).

Research done at Leon County Schools in Pensacola, Florida provides information on school retention rates that should greatly concern parents. The research revealed that standards for grade promotion as required by NCLBA have led to increased retention rates especially in transitional grades. The Leon County research also documents a very disturbing reality, in short, there is a strong correlation between drop out and retention.

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The following quote was excerpted from the Leon County research which states, “Children in a 1980 study of childhood stressors rated the prospect of repeating a grade as more stressful than ‘wetting in class’ or ‘being caught stealing’. The only two life events they viewed as more stressful than being retained were going blind or losing a parent. “

Beyond the stress associated with retention, the lifetime effects of becoming a drop out are well documented and understood by parents.

In North Carolina, where I work as an 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher, the 8th Grade is a transitional year where a student may be retained if he or she is thought to be academically unprepared for High School. State developed End of Grade Exam (EOG Exam) results, are a primary consideration in the decision to retain a student.

In addition to school retention rates, current economic conditions and decisions associated with them also create great concerns for parents. Cuts in education funding in North Carolina have been very large. The funding cuts include the elimination of teaching positions and rules that limit class size for grades 4 through 12. As a result, middle school math classes can have as many as 30 students.

Those who are familiar with Multiple Intelligence Theory and learning style differences realize that instruction must be differentiated to account for these differences and many students require extra attention. The classes I teach have 27 to 29 students. With a class of this size, it is virtually impossible to give each student the type of individually differentiated attention they need.

Clearly parents should be concerned if they learn that their child is having difficulty in a core subject such as language arts or mathematics. Despite the controversies associated with NCLBA, standards in these core subjects are here to stay. Parents who are strong in a subject such as mathematics have an advantage because they can assist their child. For those parents who are not strong in a subject their child needs help with, a tutor is the answer.

When a child has difficulty learning in school, it does not mean that he or she cannot learn. It simply means that the child has difficulty learning in the school environment. As a mathematics tutor, I have found that I can make a big difference in any child I can work with one on one. As a first step I have the child respond to a learning style questionnaire. Knowing a child’s learning style allows me to present information in the manner in which the child most easily receives it.

As with almost all aspects of communication and learning, technology has made tutoring more accessible. Today, your child can receive tutoring services while in the comfort of your home. As a TutorFi online tutor, I can work with your child regardless of the physical location of the student or me.

Do not let decisions made by politicians determine your child’s future. Invest in tutoring to ensure a brighter future for your child.

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