"The only reason not to reward the best and brightest for their achievements is to avoid punishing the rest for their shortcomings...Programs for the gifted and acts like NCLB are classic catalysts of what social scientists call the Matthew Effect.
This is a great article for any teacher or anyone involved in raising children or leadership in general.
I will add I do not see this as a reason to hold kids in the third grade that read below 3rd grade level, but instead see this as support for more reading specialist at all grade levels, even college (we had two speed reading courses for freshmen at our local community college and it helped a lot). The article also begs advancing public library programs through out the world and school libraries as well. A lot can be gained through electronically tutoring at a self pace rate with guidance and observation if some need more direction and goal setting help. I also feel an open room from 1st to 3rd grade would help, in other words a grade-less space, maybe even through the 4th grade. Too many students just do not have the same set development stages and that cannot be pushed. A better mix of self-pace with lock step could be used in grade level-less classes. A team teaching effort that included a skilled reading/math specialist on each team would really also make a huge difference.
I have also observed that in today’s push for reading, math and science many creative classes and club leadership involvements are reserved for those with high averages. This means the same kids often get to be everything that counts and others know they will never get picked. That is not a morale booster or inspiration. Many of these other classes and activities are what “hooks” the weaker students on reading, math and gaining broad knowledge. Not all leaders are great students and many are real bad students that fight the system all the way. I feel preventing many of these students from doing anything but redoing what they are weak in really just adds to the education gap. The engagement students find from these activities and other studies often sparks their interest to read or figure other things out as those activities require what was in their mind just a math problem or writing assignment to be applied in a real life situation. How do you build and measure a stage or prop?How do you create a costume from a certain period in history, or present or illustrate the meaning and essence of a prose or poem.