Memphis schools institute no failure policy for youngest students - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis schools institute no failure policy for youngest students

By Andrew Douglas - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Should students who don't make the grade pass to the next level?  
Memphis City Schools officials seem to think so. The district is doing away with the traditional grading system for students in pre-kindergarten through third grade. And young students who fall behind will not be held back.

The policy also mandates that children in grades four through eight can only be held back once.

Parent Erica Neal says she's torn about the new policy.
"I think it's good...and then it's bad," she said.

She says struggling students will receive more attention. "Sometimes they're just pushed on, pushed aside."

But she also says she's not sure kids should be passed if they haven't met the standards.

"I would hate for a child to fail. But I mean, in life, that's how it goes," she said. "You have to do it, or you have to do it over again."

The new policy is based on data collected by MCS, which may be the only large urban school district in the country implementing the policy.

"It's like an individual education plan for students K through three," said school board member Stephanie Gatewood.

The district has approved more than $3 million for literacy and math materials and supplies for that age group to help struggling students keep up.

Instead of letter grades, data will be used to make sure sure each student is on point for each grade level.

"I do believe that more hands-on will definitely help these students," said Gatewood. "And every student doesn't learn the same way, so we've got to be able to sit down and reach this student where they are at that moment."

The different approach has some skeptics, but parents like Erica Neal seem willing to support new ideas to prevent children from falling behind.

"I'm open. Yes sir, I'm open," she said.

Click here to read the policy.


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