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APS Social Promotion Policy Fails Kids

By Cap'n O

OCTOBER 6, 1997:  Failure can be devastating. I was delirious with depression upon learning that I wasn't good enough to be a bomber pilot. It was crushing to know that never would I realize my most cherished dream of being able to set whole cities on fire.

Failure can also be a blessing. Rejection caused me to intensify my efforts at self-improvement. As a result, I achieved a degree of success that undoubtedly sets the world's mouth agape. I landed this job.

It's good, though, that I was told I didn't have the skills to become a bomber pilot. Had I, with inadequate skills, been promoted along, it would have been a national disaster. I might have mistakenly bombed our own cities and, worse, destroyed shopping malls and factory outlet centers, thus depriving Americans of their national pasttime--buying stuff.

Albuquerque has a disaster of even greater magnitude. It's been going on for years, and it needs to stop. The public schools have a policy called "social promotion," whereby students who have not learned the stuff necessary to get to the next grade--it used to be called flunking--are promoted anyway. A teacher who thinks a kid needs to repeat a grade can't flunk the student without permission from the dunce's parents. Every year, kids who can't read, write, add or subtract are passed on to the next grade because their stupid parents won't let them be held back.

I know one kid who got to fourth grade without being able to read. Her mother refused to let the schools make the kid repeat a grade because she thought it would embarrass the kid. This dimly-lit parent apparently couldn't figure that it's embarrassing and harmful to a kid to be unable to read or write.

This idiotic policy guarantees that many of the people who graduate from Albuquerque Public Schools won't have the skills necessary to function as contributing members of society. The danger to society is apparent and immense. We're graduating illiterates who can't read maps, balance a checkbook or read the instructions on love enhancement devices. We have pouting young people who can't even spell the name of their gangs. Why do you think that gang graffiti is so unintelligible? The little morons can't spell.

And you know that the parents who won't let their kids be flunked are the ones who are out at night boozing, drugging and dancing when they should be at home sitting on the couch helping their kids figure out how to read, do math and tell time.

This "social promotion" policy is a reprehensible disgrace. You wouldn't want an electrician who flunked every electricity course but was given a license anyway to wire your house. If that happened and you discovered that the dimwit didn't know an outlet from a spigot but was still given a license, you'd be mad as hell and would sue somebody. You would find the situation unacceptable.

If our trade schools churned out carpenters who built houses that fell down, we'd be outraged. If you were operated on by a surgeon who never should have passed anatomy class and who mistook your heart for a burst appendix, your heirs would probably be appalled. Especially if they didn't get a big court judgment. Imagine the dire health consequences if we had waitresses who spelled "oatmeal," e-g-g-s. Or consider all the rotted livers that would result if our bars were tended by bartending school graduates, who, when asked for a shot and a beer, put the hard stuff in the big glass.

If our schools kept promoting people who flunked ethics classes, we'd have to enlarge Congress.

APS "social promotion" policy doesn't promote anything but ignorance and social disaster. It should be eliminated. For when you fail to fail a kid who is flunking, you fail the kid.

But there's still hope for public school students who graduate without learning anything to attain lucrative positions in this community. They can get jobs as APS administrators.

--Cap'n O

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