As school approaches, fewer local students choose to repeat a school grade

As local students get ready to head back to school, more of them than usual will be going back to the same grade and not as punishment. Their parents have decided to hold them back on purpose. It’s a tough call for parents to make, but they’re thinking long-term for their kids.

"I’m hoping my 10-year-old daughter that has an intellectual disability can get more social skills," Syrita Powers stated.

Georgie Powers, of West Philadelphia, should be going to middle school this year. Instead, her mom and dad decided for their daughter to repeat the 5th grade. Again.


"She has this big, bright beautiful smile, but I know it takes more in the world to carry a smile. So, I’m hoping she gets enough skills to be amongst her peers," Syrita explained.

Georgia is among the 495 of the more than 200,000 Philadelphia school kids who have opted for Pennsylvania’s Act 66, allowing kids to repeat the school year. In essence, a do-over.

FOX 29 reached out to dozens of area school districts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Of the 20 districts that responded, less than half of one percent of students opted to retain their current grade levels.

Education advocates worry parents weren’t given enough time to decide on retention and say some never knew they could.

"School districts don’t want families to know because this costs them money. So, if you have a child that receives special ed services, there’s really no incentive to bring them back for another year," Co-Founder of the Chinatown Disability Advocacy Project Anna Perng said.

The Chinatown Disability Advocacy Project helped many parents apply for the retention rule. Like Mandi, who through a translator tells FOX 29 her son is also repeating the fifth grade.

"My hopes and aspirations for my son, by selecting the retention option, is that he can work on those social skills to develop skills to live more independently in the community," explained Mandi.



SUBSCRIBE: Good Day Digest Newsletter | FOX 29 Philly on YouTube

FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter