I wrote earlier today about how the court-directed busing program in Louisville acted to destroy No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability in several of that district’s schools. Now, I’m going to discuss how a rather closely related event, changes in school zones, can have the same disastrous impact on NCLB accountability.
Kentucky Administrative Regulation 703 KAR 5:020 says, “If as a result of a change in service area boundaries or local board of education policies affecting student population served by a school, less than eighty (80) percent of a school’s student population at its accountability grades is stable, the school shall be considered a reconfigured school.”
The Jefferson County example fits under the “local board of education policies” provision. The local board chose to do the busing plan as a way to comply with the court decision.
Now, let’s look at a school where zoning changes apparently led to an NCLB “Get Out of Jail Free Card.” You will see the situation is almost identical to the one for Maupin Elementary School in Louisville, but there is actually a different reason.
First, here is the Carlisle NCLB status table from last year. Note that the school consistently failed in reading over time (just like Maupin) and was in NCLB Tier 5 status when the 2008-09 school term started.
However, John G. Carlisle didn’t get its “Get Out of Jail Free Card” because of court-ordered busing. This school’s student body changed because another elementary school in Covington, the very poor performing Thomas Edison Elementary School, was closed, not due to education issues, but due to declining enrollment in the district. This “Get Out of Jail Card” could have happened (and has happened) in any district where zoning changes impacted more than 20 percent of a school’s students from the previous year. It can happen anywhere in Kentucky. A federal busing lawsuit isn’t required to trigger this.
A few more notes are in order. First, just like at Maupin, notice that after the zoning change, John G. Carlisle Elementary continued to fail in both reading and math.
Also, I checked, and the principal at the school was there last year, as well. So, at least this key staff position was not changed. I don’t know how other staff slots at the school were impacted by the shutdown at Edison, but the district probably awarded slots this year on a seniority basis rather than a merit basis. For sure, neither Carlisle or Edison was doing well, so allowing a merged school staff to totally restart their NCLB “clock” isn’t in the best interests of students.
There is another problem here. Due to the non-academically earned end to Tier status in all the schools I have been discussing, students are losing important benefits like school transfer rights and, perhaps more importantly in the case of both Maupin and Carlisle, the right to get school board financed supplemental education services like extra tutoring. That’s a real shame.
There is one more “Get Out of Jail” card yet to play. Stay tuned.