Social promotion is Anchorage's official policy - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Social promotion is Anchorage’s official policy


For 20 years, the Anchorage School District has had a policy of automatic promotion from grade to grade.

Last year, among the 3,500 third graders, only five were held back from going on to fourth grade. The same was true for second-graders and fifth-graders. After years of being advanced automatically, many students don’t have the basic skills they need for high school.

But social promotion is the Anchorage School District official policy, which has a written preference that students should be moved to the next grade with their classmates.

Board member Dave Donley has suggested a policy change in Memorandum 117: Instead of automatic promotion, educators should decide what is in the best interest of each individual child, how they are in their proficiency, special needs they may have, and parents should certainly have a say.

In other words, the policy should return the decision to a case-by-case basis, with parental input.

[Read the board document here]

This policy change will be on tonight’s school board agenda for discussion..

School board meetings are available live on the municipality’s cable channel 9 and streamed on ASD’s YouTube channel. Board meetings will also be available 48 hours after the meeting’s conclusion in Board Docs.

School Board meetings are held at the ASD Education Center, 5530 E Northern Lights Blvd. The meeting starts at 7 pm.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Good first step!

  • Wow, you got this wrong. ASD does not have automatic promotion. There is no such policy at ASD.

    • Only 5 of 3500 held back? Of course the district automatically promotes.

  • They had no kid left behind and then common core absolute dumbing down !!! AK. Ranks 51st and has some of the highest paid in its ranks in ASD and its been this way for decades!!! Home school has the highest GPA then private schools and ASD has the lowest !!! Problem has never been the budget.

  • This proposal:$file/M117a_RETENTION%20PROPOSED%20BOARD%20POLICY%20AMENDMENT.pdf

    Passed during the meeting last night.

    Motion & Voting
    To pass revisions to Board policy #5123 Promotion/Acceleration/Retention.

    Motion by Deena Mitchell, second by Andy Holleman.
    Final Resolution: Motion Passes
    Yea: Andy Holleman, Starr Marsett, Elisa Snelling, Dave Donley, Alisha Hilde
    Nay: Mark A Foster, Deena Mitchell

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