NYC education panel approves mayor's social promotion plan

Mayor Bloomberg's plan to end schoolsocial promotion and hold back as many as 15,000 third-graderswas approved Monday night. The plan was passed by an 8-5 vote after a raucous public hearing at a Manhattan high school.

The mayor's proposal, which was announced during his State of the City address, calls for holding back students beginning in the third-grade if they do not pass city standardized tests in math and reading. Students who fail the tests would have an opportunity to retake them in the summer.

Three members of the education panel were fired by Bloomberg, and replaced before the vote when they refused to support the mayor'splan. The mayor said, "A few of the members didn't agree or were afraid they would be pressured by outsiders, politicized, so I replaced them with people who agreed with my views....This is what mayoral control (of the schools) is all about."

Opponents say the entire issue is politically motivated. They have pointed out that by holding back poor performing third-graders, test scores will likely increase among fourth-graders. Opponents cite how the state places a lot of significance on fourth grade test scores, and that Bloomberg needs high results during an election year.

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