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Despite decades of research findings that the practice of third grade retention is damaging and costly, the State of Florida is one of only sixteen states, which continue such a harmful, misguided and fiscally irresponsible practice.
Accepted research has demonstrated that:
- Retention is one of the most powerful predictors of high school dropout.
- Retained students are 2 to 11 times more likely to drop out of high school than peers.
- Retained students have lower levels of achievement in 11th grade.
- Retained youth receive lower educational and employment status ratings.
- Retained students are paid less per hour at age 20.
- Retention may cause permanent or long-term psychological harm.
- Short-term improvements in test scores following retention are outstripped by long-term damage from ensuing deficits resulting from retention.
- The cost of retaining a single third grade student in Florida is $11,000 in tax dollars.
And yet… Florida continues to retain children, EVEN where there is NO documented reading deficiency.
This past spring, hundreds of families consciously chose to participate, though only minimally, in the Third Grade FSA and their children, therefore, received no test scores. Many students (including many who failed the FSA), were promoted based on additional testing/alternative assessments, such as the SAT10, IOWA or the state’s battery of “portfolio tests.”
Courageous parents have refused all further testing for purposes of promotion. They are demanding that their children be promoted based on the work they did all year long, evidenced by satisfactory report cards or actual portfolios of their children’s work (which includes tests done in school) – a more thorough and rigorous evaluation than any single test could possibly be.
These third grade students from across Florida, who have been proven proficient, or who have otherwise proved they met state standards, are, nevertheless, marked for retention, simply due to the lack of a state test (FSA) score. Their families are legally challenging the Florida Department of Education and the enforcement of mandatory third grade retention.
The goal is to have the statute, which allows third grade retention, found unconstitutional and unenforceable. The implications of a positive outcome from this case are significant and far-reaching.
The case is moving forward immediately and the initial cost of $17,000.00 must be raised as soon as possible. These funds will cover the attorney’s retainer, filing fees and court costs.
On behalf of the courageous families, who are pursuing this important legal challenge, The Opt Out Florida Network is the single point of contact for information and we are accepting donations to support this important effort.
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Donate via GoFundMe or PayPal (coming soon).
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Donations to this legal fund are not tax deductible.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT.
To better understand the damaging effects of grade retention…
Dr. Shane Jimerson, of the University of California – Santa Barbara is one of the most recognized experts on grade retention. He has published numerous journal articles related to grade retention and social promotion:
- Winning The Battle and Losing The War: Examining The Relation Between Grade Retention and Dropping Out Of High School – Jimerson, Whipple & Anderson 2002
- Grade Retention: Achievement and Mental Health Outcomes – Jimerson, Whipple & Anderson – Oct 2002
- Additional articles by Jimerson: Beyond Grade Retention and Social Promotion
- Early Intervention: The Key to Success – Learning Disabilities Association of America
- Early intervention works, grade retention doesn’t – University of Wisconsin – Madison 1999