>This is certainly true, it was even true in my >elementary childhood. It seems as set in stone as is >the law that dictates the earliest date on which a >student can start school. At least here in Florida. And >it seems to be a rule and mindset from long ago. Since >institutionalized public education began.
This is not so clear to me. The rule against academic acceleration has certainly been around a long time, but it seems to me that it is of a piece with social promotion, which also has been around a long time, in one form or another.
Although I have read some general histories of public education, I have never read a history specific to special education. I have a vague personal memory of a distant past when both, acceleration and retention, were more common, and I have talked to several people, slightly older than myself, who feel the same way.
The common theme is that students must be grouped by age. While I am sure that the people espousing the psychobabble about grouping by age actually believe the psychobabble, it is also perfectly clear that grouping by age will tend to maximize total pupil-days in school.
Academic acceleration will obviously reduce the total time spent in school by academically able students. On the other hand, it is well established that students who are retained in grade are more likely to drop out. Thus, the financial incentive to the Education Mafia, for grouping students by age, no matter what, needs no further explanation.
Maximizing time in school is institutionalized in other ways. For example, by New York State law, a student is not eligible for the GED until his age cohort has graduated high school. I know as a matter of fact this is true in at least a few other states. It is easy to imagine the impact of this law. Who would think of such a law? And, having thought of it, who would think this is a good idea?
As always, the question is: good for whom? It may not be so good for students, but it is great for the Education Mafia.
No matter which way you slice it, no matter how you approach it, public education is structured for the benefit of the Education Mafia. It is not that they want to hurt children, but if hurting children is the price for protecting their interests, they are willing to live with that.