Tuesday, May 08, 2007


A couple thousand freshmen in Bakersfield are sweating like crazy right about now. Last night district trustees voted unanimously to hold kids back who don’t complete their 9th grade requirements. Before now, there were no requirements to move from one grade to the next. Does that sound crazy to anybody else besides me?

I’ve been wondering for a long time how a kid can get all the way to high school and not be able to read or do basic math. How the hell did they get out of grade school? There’s a lot of talk about our kids graduating from high school without some very basic skills, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Shouldn’t they have those basic skills BEFORE they get to high school? How are the teachers supposed to teach the higher level classes if the kids can’t read?

I guess there is some stigma to holding children back. I personally don’t get it because I was held back in the third grade. If fact, I was famous for being the girl who got held back. It didn’t bother me. Of course, I didn’t get held back because I didn’t pass. My parents chose to have me repeat the third grade because I was very young and very small. Very, very small. The other kids carried me around like a doll. The school and the district didn’t want to let me repeat the third grade and my parents had to fight them to make it happen, but I’m glad they did. If they hadn’t held me back I think I would have done as well in school as I did. Largely because I met my best friend Flo and she was smart (Still is. Dr. Flo)

I just can’t believe the first district to start doing something about children failing is the high school district. When are the elementary schools going to step up and stop this nonsense?