Grade Retention

Senator Brownsberger,

I wanted to bring to your attention the alarming rates of grade retention in our Boston schools. I believe that there are multiple reasons why our Boston students are being held back, i.e. mental health disorders, ESL, adverse acculturation, special education, truancy, to name a few. Specifically, there are quite a few schools in your district that are at the highest rates in Suffolk county, Brighton High, International School at Copley, Fenway School.

Senate Bill 214 proposes establishing a commission to examine the disparities of communities with high grade retention and the development of a policy for statewide implementation. As a fellow advocate for our school systems, I hope that you will take a look at this bill and let me know your thoughts and provide other advocates like myself of your support.

Thank you for your consideration,

Colin T. Hart

Published by Colin Hart

I am a graduate student at Northeastern University studying Public Health and Urban Health. I am an advocate for mental health policy in our schools and community.

4 replies on “Grade Retention”

  1. Colin, thank you for this post and also for coming in to present data showing the severity of the problem. Senate 214 does speak to this important issue, but I guess I’m not completely convinced that it is the right way to go.

    Another Commission is not always a route to progress. In the case of a problem which has gotten lots of attention already — like this one — I think that the legislature should act substantively, rather than appointing another commission. I’m not sure what the right substantive actions are, but I do have confidence that this issue is squarely on the radar of the education committee. I’ll ask my staff to explore what might be pending on it.

  2. As an update, Senate 214 was placed in study. It looks like the major battle in the Education Committee this year will be around charters. Major legislation directly speaking to the issues of 214 will not be forthcoming. More to do next year!

  3. Senator, as a researcher myself, I understand the importance of observation before interpretation. To acknowledge your initial response, I agree with the sentiment that the validity of the concerns posed should be examined closely before a commission is even considered. I am happy to hear that Senate 214 was put into study and I appreciate your attention to this and your continued updates. I look forward to the progress in the coming years!

  4. Actually, Colin, I think the concerns are valid. It’s not that more study is needed before a commission. Really it’s that we need to take action and that’s our job as legislators and we don’t need to outsource it to another commission.

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