(Updated with graph 7 Aug 10)
With the count of parents who have joined the lawsuit against the incredibly bad busing plan in Louisville now up to 13, the case is finally in court.
Per the Courier-Journal, the court discussion gravitated towards a discussion of the performance of Jefferson County schools and why parents are unhappy. One example listed was a comparison of the Dunn and King Elementary Schools.
The news report says that parent attorney J. Bruce Miller “insinuated” that King Elementary is inferior, citing as an example numerous spelling and grammar mistakes available for public view in the school’s web site.
Well, there’s no need to insinuate. The performance in these two schools is dramatically different, as the most recent proficiency rates in the five Kentucky Core Content Test subjects in this graph show (I assembled the graph from data in each school’s Interim Performance Report for 2009, available with the menus presented here).
The 2009 No Child Left Behind results for the two schools are also dramatically different. Dunn’s 2009 NCLB Adequate Yearly Progress Report shows it met all nine of its targets and thus met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). King’s report shows it only met 8 of 12 targets, a rather low performance of only 66.7 percent. King failed to make AYP in 2009. It also failed to make AYP in 2008. Find each school’s 2009 NCLB report with the menus provided here.
However, King is not in NCLB Tier status due to a serious loophole that the Jefferson County busing plan has exposed. When the enrollment in a school changes by 20 percent or more, that school’s NCLB “counter” gets reset to zero. So, instead of King being in Tier 1 status for failing to make AYP two years in a row, it isn’t in any NCLB trouble.
I’ve written about how busing has shredded NCLB in Jefferson County before, but I would not be surprised if the lawyer for the school district or its superintendent tries to fool the public by claiming the district has reduced the schools in NCLB Tier status. I suspect it has, but that is only because of this loophole that busing can seriously exploit.
There was more nonsense in the Courier’s report, and you can click the “Read more” link below to learn about that.
Jefferson County’s lawyer made the audacious claim that just because a parent has the right to enroll their child at the school closest to their home, this does not guarantee the child has a right to attend that school.
I’m not a lawyer, but that certainly seems to turn the use of “enroll” in Kentucky statutes on its ear.
A search for the term “enroll” in the Kentucky School Laws Annotated shows that Kentucky law frequently uses the term with the idea of attendance, not just the act of completing paperwork to enter school.
For example, in Section 17.470 (Page 100) regarding children reported as missing:
“The Department of Kentucky State Police shall provide the commissioner of education with a list of the names of all missing children and children who have been recovered along with, if available, the last known school of enrollment.”
Clearly, this use of the term indicates it means the last know school of attendance.
On page 403 in Section 157.065, the law discusses required reporting of children in the federal free and reduced cost lunch program. It says,
“The report shall include the number of children enrolled at the school and the number of children who are eligible for free or reduced priced meals under the federal program.”
Notice this use of the term enrolled clearly means students actually attending the school, as well.
There is another point worth mentioning. Jefferson County has been busing for years to diversify its schools, but I don’t see any evidence that this has helped make significant improvement in the city’s chronically under-performing West End. All that has been accomplished is different kids are being subjected to substandard educations, and many of the bused kids must be so tired by the time they reach school that their eagerness and energy to learn are seriously depleted even before the class start bell rings.
There is more going on, but you get the point. Jefferson County is clearly going to do everything it can to continue on with its NCLB busting, parent and child abusing plan that can drag five year old kids on a one hour, 28 mile bus ride, one way, with multiple bus changes, as they struggle to get an education in this poorly performing school system.