Mr. Geiger, thank you for reaching
into the "vault" and republishing your 2004 meaningful and timeless piece. It harkens back to a era when Politicall Correctness did not permeate American society in general and school systems in particular.
If Frankie Formby was currently a student in this permissive society, he would have earned a
Social Promotion to the next grade level regardless of the fact Frankie did not master prerequisite basic learning skills. Under the current acceptable school standards, students similar to Frankie are recipients of Social Promotion in order to keep that student with their "social peers".
Today's teachers are not permitted to exhibit the characteristics of your Mrs. Woodcock. My "Mrs. Woodcock" was Mrs. Browning, who saw great potential in me despite my sluggardly school performance. My retention in the 8th grade was an eye opener in which I trudged along with new "social peers" without suffering any permanant "psychological" issues. Mrs. Browning's firmly adhered to her position as life's gatekeeper by not promoting anyone unless that promotion was deserved.
By today's standards, the ACLU would file suit, the failed student would sue, the Teachers Union would intervene and the offending "Mrs. Woodcock" would be reprimanded or suspended if little "Frankie or Susie" was not promoted.
As a result of Social Promotion, there are a lot of "dumb folks" working varied employment.
Count me as being thankful my schooling was in the Stone Age. "Modern" conveniences such as the IPod, Blackberry, PC, cell phone, cable tv, CD, VCR, texting, email, digital electronics, etc. were not around when I was a teenager in the 1950's.
I shudder to think how much more successful my career would have been if I had been able to hang one of those ol' BlueTooth devices on my ear and amble along looking important!