Teachers in Philadelphia told to ignore any pressure to pass unqualifed students

    Philadelphia schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman says her administration is not pushing teachers to pass unqualified students. She’s asking all the district’s teachers to give students the grades they deserve.

    Philadelphia schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman says her administration is not pushing teachers to pass unqualified students. She’s asking all the district’s teachers to give students the grades they deserve.

    In an email sent Monday , Ackerman told all 10,000 Philadelphia public school teachers to  ignore any pressure they may feel to promote failing students to the next grade. The letter comes on the heels of reports that administrators at South Philadelphia High were pushing teachers to hand out so-called “social promotions.”

    Sheila Simmons of Public Citizens for Children and Youth says it’s unusual for a superintendent to even acknowledge the problem’s existence.

    Listen:

    [audio:090616bhschool.mp3]

    Simmons: It’s not anything unfamiliar to large city school systems, Philadelphia or large school districts in general. We know that it has existed, prior to this administration, prior to the administration before that.

    Simmons says the use of social promotions usually indicates that schools don’t have the resources they need to fully engage failing students. She hopes the superintendent’s push to increase the number of school counselors will help.

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