So, I thought it would be interesting to look at the academic performance of one school where a child will be forced to bus something like 20 miles, one way, each day.
The school is Jefferson County’s Shelby Elementary School. It is in No Child Left Behind Tier 3 status, which means it failed during four separate school terms to meet the requirements of NCLB.
You can find the school’s NCLB report for 2008 by negotiating some menus from this page.
Here is a list from that report on the areas where this low performing school failed NCLB goals in 2008.
First of all, notice that the school didn’t fail white kids. It didn’t fail because of kids with learning disabilities, either, simply because the school had too few of them under Kentucky’s ridiculously high minimum enrollment requirements to get a score in that area (signified by the n/a designation).
This school primarily failed because of one racial group, African-Americans, which actually comprise the dominant racial group at Shelby Elementary.
If Jefferson county can dilute the number of low-scoring students in this school by busing in kids from better-off parts of the school district, it possibly will boost scores in the school, at least for a little while, without having to make any real changes in educational performance.
The real irony here is that because this school is an NCLB Tier 3 school, parents of students already attending Shelby Elementary get the right to request a transfer out of this school to a better performing one at the same time that the east end students sued to avoid being bused IN to this low performing elementary school.
And, then ask how a judge could miss what is going on here. How could a judge uphold a plan that requires a five-year old to make three bus changes, ranging all across town, to travel all across Jefferson County to school? What kind of educational mindset is that going to create?
Of course, aside from other things, Judge Heyburn doesn’t have a terribly good track record on school busing issues. According to the Daily News in Bowling Green, “Heyburn upheld a school assignment plan in 2004 – a decision struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote in 2007.”
So, stand by for more on this explosive issue that goes to the heart of parent rights to insure their children get a good education. In the case of the two parents who got trampled by the school district, and then the courts, they pulled their kids out of the public school system all together. If they now win their suit on what looks like certain appeal, the damages to us taxpayers will mount that much more.
And, all the while, Shelby Elementary will go on conducting business as usual, which is to say, probably not very well. In fact, if there is a large enough change in the school’s student enrollment thanks to all the busing, that could restart its NCLB “clock.,” giving the school’s staff a “bye” for several more years while education in the school continues to wallow.