Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Few D.C. Students Transfer Schools (washingtonpost.com)

Transfer Trouble


Everyone's up in arms about the low numbers of students transferring schools (free registration required) when theirs are declared underperforming.

Why didn't more DC students take advantage of the school transfer provision of NCLB this year? Because it is inherently discriminatory, enabling only students who have the MEANS to get to another school the opportunity to do so. And it's not like anyone is bending over backwards to get them there either. The higher-performing schools have no incentive to take the students from the low-achieving ones, as one can surmise that the students from these schools are underprepared and will drag down averages. Let's spread the crap around instead of focusing on improving it when it's concentrated in one place! Hey. That runs counter to the flypaper theory regarding Iraq and the terrorists. Why do our children deserve less than the terrorists?

But seriously. This just won't work unless we develop better ways of transporting students to their school of choice, as well as committing to intense efforts to attract and retain better teachers, administrators and students to the underperforming schools. The goal of NCLB should not be to shut down bad schools, but to improve them so that all public school students have the same minimum level of education. Yeah, pie in the sky. But this is the way they've written the legislation, so now the rest of us have to deal. Don't even get me started on the "best practices" research clearinghouse. What a joke.

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