Over a year after ending social promotion (the practice of letting students advance to the next grade using social factors) in the third and fifth grades, the Mayor has decided to end it for seventh graders, too. He explained why during his press conference:

We're not going to put any of our students on that trajectory to failure any longer. Improving students' performance in the 7th grade will strengthen their possibilities of getting into the high schools they want. And it will give them a foundation in the fundamentals of reading, writing, and math that they will need for success in 8th grade, in high school, and in life.

The Department of Education will use the math tests that students take in 2006 to determine whether or not they will go the eighth grade; looking at this past year's scores, 7,500-10,000 of the 66,000 NYC seventh graders scored Level 1 (the lowest) on tests, which means they would be asked to attend summer school and retake the test before moving on. Randi Weingartern of the teachers' supports the plan, while the principals' union head, Jill Levy, feels it's too fractured a plan (Newsday calls it a "Band-Aid solution when surgery is appropriate"), which is the tack that the Mayor's political rivals are taking to criticize the plan. Fernando Ferrer is pressing the fact that the mayor is ignoring the huge dropout rate while Gifford Miller is suggesting smaller class size and better teachers.

And at the beginning of his speech at Columbia's Teacher's College, this was Bloomberg's idea of an ice-breaker joke: "We owe the college a deep debt of gratitude for that-and for giving us Doctor Ruth Westheimer, too! Over the years, both the college and Doctor Ruth have taught New Yorkers a great deal-but I think I want to leave it at that." Oy.

Photo by Green Trabant