Support student progression! Please ask the Committee Co-Chairs to report S.214 favorably out of committee.
Dear [Decision Maker],
The practice of grade retention, also known as holding back or failing a child, is meant to help a child "catch" up, but in reality, it rarely solves the problem and is known to negatively impact the child's social and emotional development. In Massachusetts, there are substantial statewide variations in the practice of grade retention and no standard policy that guides this practice. We are asking for a short-term, 6 month commission to convene, comprehensively analyze the data, and recommend a model policy and observations on the variations in practice. For this reason, I urge you to ask the Chairwomen of the Joint Committee on Education to release "A Resolve to Ensure Student Progression" (S. 214) from committee. Research has shown that grade retention alone does not correct learning problems but instead deepens existing problems. It also shows that it is associated with increases in behavior, attitudinal, and emotional problems; has negative effects on all areas of a child's achievement; and is utilized at a disproportionately higher rate for children of color, children from low-income families, and non-native English speakers. This issue is a crisis in many underprivileged areas of the Commonwealth and requires more information about its use, its impact on student achievement and mental health, and possible alternatives.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
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