BROOKLYN - Educational advocates say thousands of eighth-graders could be left back after Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new promotion policy was given the go ahead from an education panel Monday night.

Proponents and critics of the plan faced off at the meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy. The panel voted to pass the plan 11-1. Under the mayor?s plan, students will be left back if they fail one of four subjects or standardized tests in either math or reading.

The mayor says too many students are bumped up without being academically ready. Critics say failing students will not help them learn. They also demand to see a formal plan from the Department of Education outlining how it will improve failing middle schools before holding students back.

The plan will go into effect in September for the 2008 to 2009 school year.