Here's one way school districts can cut costs and increase student learning: embrace "grade skipping" for their most advanced pupils. So argue Laura Vanderkam and Richard Whitmire in a recent Ed Week commentary. Compared with traditional "talented and gifted" programs, this is a real bargain; it costs schools very little to put a first grader in third grade math or a fifth grader in sixth grade reading whereas enrichment teachers are another addition to the faculty. And "if a student moves through K-12 in 11 or 12 years, rather than 13, taxpayers save money," conclude the authors. Still, the practice remains unpopular with educators. A 2008 Fordham report found that a whopping 63 percent of teachers opposed accelerating students. For a plan that economical, taking another look seems eminently sensible.

"What Ever Happened to Grade Skipping?," by Laura Vanderkam and Richard Whitmire, Education Week, August 11, 2009 (registration required)

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