The Board Department of Education got a bit of black eye yesterday when it was announced that 17,710 students in the Department's charge are likely to be held back a grade next year. But that's not even the big issue. No, what critics are harping on is the fact that of those 17k students 8,921 of them are fifth-graders, from the same class who did "surprisingly well" last year as Bloomie was heading into mid-term elections by riding on his education record. To put some numbers on to this, last year 8.6% of fifth-graders were at risk of being held back at this time. This year the number is at 15.2%.

But of course, nothing in education on the scale of the DoE is simple, and this years numbers prove that point. First off, the numbers being released today are preliminary, thanks to No Child Left Behind the New York State is now in charge of the brunt of testing but testing which complicates things and slows the release of numbers. So the reality might not be quite so harsh - or it could be worse. "The city agreed to use preliminary scores to avoid having students take two sets of tests - one for the state and another for the city's promotional policy. Officials have said that next year's test scores would be coordinated to meet the city's promotional policy."

On the other hand, third-graders did much better with 9.2% facing another year of third-grade as opposed to 13.4% last year. And it keeps going, this year is also the first year that Bloomies tough-love promotion policy is being used with seventh-graders. Luckily, they seem to be doing the least worrisome, with 5.8% of them needing summer school. With all of the changes that have been pushed through the DoE in the past few years, along with the newly agressive cell-phone policy, we wonder how we would have done if we had to go through it all again. Even for a Stuy alum (where a scantron test at the beginning of a class was to be expected) it seems like these kids are getting tested through the nose...

Detail from Back of the Bus by Triborough via Contribute.