Social Promotion: A Dead End On The Road To Success

2220 words - 9 pages

SOCIAL PROMOTION: A Dead End on the Road to Success

SOCIAL PROMOTION: A Dead End on the Road to Success
Our education system faces a myriad of questions. One of which is, what is the main objective of our education system: to graduate students at a high academic standard, to graduate students who can interact socially, or to prepare students wholly in order to become contributing members of society? Parents, school districts, and the government all have their own ideas as to the primary purpose. The means (education) to the end (producing educated citizens) can take many roads or methods. One method goes down the road of social promotion. However, the unpopular practice of social promotion in our schools does not prepare our children academically. It promotes low standards, accepts mediocrity, and gives a false hope of success in a world which is unforgiving towards the uneducated.
When learning something new, one starts from the beginning and works ones way up to the next level until the objective has been mastered. This is a logical method. One cannot learn to read or write without learning the ABCs. The basics must come first. In our education system, social promotion focuses more on the social education of students rather than the academic education. According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, “social promotion is the practice of promoting a student from one grade level to the next on the basis of age rather than academic achievement.” This practice disregards logic and promotes students with their peers rather than promoting the student when he/she achieves the learning objective. The only people truly affected by this practice are the ones passed on. For example, James is a forty-seven year old man who states:
They kept passing me on, but I couldn’t read. I was nothing but a goat to them. They were worried about my self-esteem. Now, I can’t get a good job. It cost me two marriages. What woman is going to stay with a man who can’t earn enough money to support her? Where is my ‘esteem‘ now? (Doran, 2005, p.11)

He knew what happened to him was wrong, but was powerless to stop the cycle. To him, social promotion ruined his life. All he wanted was to learn to read. All his teachers wanted to do was protect his self-esteem. Neither happened. These ramifications did not appear until years later.
Social promotion came about due to fact that the research regarding the practice of retention, or keeping a failing student in the same grade, proved it was ineffective. The problem with retention is that it really does not work past a couple of years; the initial gains shown in the first year “are small and diminish within three years” (Johnson, 2001). These students do not truly reap the benefits of extended time with the standards and objectives because they are often placed with the same teachers and techniques that originally failed them in the first place. According the Center...

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