Editor’s note:  We recently blogged about Governor Ivey killing a bill that would have delayed implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act and its intent to have some third graders repeat the grade if the results of a reading test they take are not satisfactory  Hundreds of people read this post and quite a number of people sent me emails about what Governor Ivey did.  Not a single person agreed with her.

One who got in touch is Sarah Odom, a lifelong educator and consultant.  She has four grandchildren and used them to illustrate how children, even siblings, are often quite different and can not be treated the same in the classroom.

“I write to express concern for current laws and policies being considered in Alabama concerning our children and their education.

While I attempted to work out today, (3rd day in a row – Woop Woop!) I thought about my four grands, who came to see me earlier in the day.

Clem – He was our first, and I drilled science in this kid.  He loves living creatures. So much that at his Kindergarten graduation he declared when he grew up he would be an alligator hunter.

Emm – Mimics everything Clem does, but if you get him alone he starts organizing everything. You can always tell when he’s been at our home. There are lines of trucks, tractors, etc. when he leaves.

Ram Rod – He is so funny to watch as he walks. He is into every single thing in the world, but especially cords. He also has an extreme fascination with my reading glasses. He is always exploring, and loves to find my toilet.

Rhetster – This sweet baby is always counting. I declare to you at one year of age, he is constantly keeping time and using patterns. I lie not!  It’s the truth with my hand up. He loves music, and I think it’s the beat or rhythm that draws him to it.

These babies are all so very different, even though they share a common set of genes as well as a common environment. In order to be a “Good” Mimsy, I have to make sure I keep track of all their likes and dislikes. I give time to each of them when I can. And I am spending all of my husband’s “so called” fortune attempting to make sure Mimsy gives them all the intellectual stimulation they need when they are at my house.

I said all of this to make a point… actually to ask a few questions. So here goes…

1. If it takes all of this for four siblings, how in the world do we think that a single assessment in third grade will determine who passes or fails?

2. For the people making these decisions, have none of you reviewed the research that clearly provides evidence that retaining children almost always has an adverse effect on them?

I have lived the life of an educator, assessment creator, consultant, data analyst, and mother/grandmother. I believe in assessment, but only when it is used correctly. Personally I think this is a step backwards for Alabama. Let’s not fall back again!  Please!”