BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Berkeley County School District (BCSD) Board on Tuesday discussed a “one-year exception to the promotion criteria of students in grades six through eight for the 2020-21 school year,” which only requires students to pass English and math courses to advance to the next grade level.
Currently, students are required to pass English, math, science, and social studies.
Students that do not pass one or more of the courses are allowed to take up to two summer programs for content recovery. If a student is failing all four courses, they do not have the option to participate in Summer school. The proposed program would open up that option.
Interim Chief Academic and Innovation Officer, Dr. Anthony Dixon, proposed the change as a way to help students who have been struggling throughout the pandemic.
He said that in one single school, a principal reported almost 300 students that are not passing.
Board members generally felt that the proposal went too far, with some suggesting sending students to high school knowing that they were not prepared is an injustice to the students.
Member Katie Tanner said that she did not “want to send a message to the [social studies and science] teachers that their jobs are not important and that they should feel undervalued,” nor did she “want to send a message to parents and students that for the next however many days [they] have left… [the] child does not have to do anything.”
The board floated the notion of requiring students pass math and science and either social studies or science, but agreed that more conversation on amending the requirements was necessary.
They plan to gather data and revisit the issue at a later time.