Will Retention Help Your Child?

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In This Issue . . .

Circulation: 83,385
ISSN: 1538-320
January 18, 2011

Schools often use a "wait to fail" approach to retain students who cannot read, blaming the problem on "immaturity."

The school's solution to this problem is to retain a child while they continue to do the same thing with him, waiting for a different outcome.

If your child could have learned to read with the type and level of instruction he is currently receiving, he would have already learned to read. How will retention help?

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, Sue Whitney, Research Editor at Wrightslaw, responds to a parent's fear that her son will not learn to read. Learn about the "wait to fail" approach and find a sample letter you can use to request the school not retain your child, if that is the school's plan.

Please don't hesitate to forward this issue to other friends, families, or colleagues.

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The School Wants to Retain My Son: Why?

"The school wants to retain my son. The principal says that he has 'recent' research that shows the benefits of retention.

Ask the person who is quoting the retention "research" for a copy of what he is talking about. Otherwise, ignore it. If your son could have learned to read with this type and level of instruction he would have already learned to read.

Why Retain? It Didn't Work the First Time by Sue Whitney

Sample Letter: Request the School NOT Retain Your Child

This sample letter describes a parents' concerns about the school's proposal to retain their child. It is an example of how you can use story-telling in letters that document events and describe your concerns.

The parents sent this letter to request the school not retain their child.


10 Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention

The school proposes to retain our child? The school would not change her program, just give her “more time to learn grade level material.” Should We Always Say NO to Retention?

How will simply repeating a grade address your child's problem and enhance her learning experience?

Before you allow the school to take an action that you do not agree with, make sure the procedure is authorized or allowed under the law.

10 Strategies to Fight Mandatory Retention & Other Damaging Policies

Wrightslaw From Emotions to Advocacy

How to Write Good Letters

  • Learn more about writing effective letters to the school
  • Avoid letter-writing pitfalls
  • Find 16 sample letters

See Chapter 23: How to Write Good Evidence Letters and Chapter 24: Writing the "Letter to a Stranger" in Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition. Table of Contents

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