The Courier-Journal reports that the Jefferson County Board of Education has thrown in the towel on trying to fix the endemically troubled Myers Middle School. Essentially, Myers is going to be closed. Scheduled incoming sixth grade students this fall instead will enter a number of other schools.
Myers current sixth and seventh graders, who will be in the seventh and eighth grades this fall, will all transfer along with most of Myers’ current teachers to the Waggener High School campus.
This little shuffle will play nice tricks on the state’s school accountability program because the new Waggener Middle School will have all of its state assessment goals reset. Waggener Middle can’t get back in trouble for several years. However, with the only real change being the building location, it’s hard to see how Myers’ problems will be fixed by this chair shuffle.
In fact, with the middle school students now closely located with the Waggener High kids, all sorts of new problems could raise their ugly heads. One comment found under the Courier-Journal’s article from Rich Gimmel points out that Waggener was a middle-high school once before and that arrangement didn’t work out well.
The really sad part of this story is that Myers would be a perfect situation for Kentucky’s first charter school, if we just had a law allowing them. Charter schools across the nation, especially in places like New Orleans, New York City and Boston, are stepping out dramatically in exactly the sorts of situations that plague Myers Middle.
While tradition-bound Jefferson County Board of Education members bemoan the fact that they have no clue why Myers continued to fail, charter schools in other states are sifting through all of that confusion to create student friendly situations where students who enter years behind can catch up and even surpass their traditional public school counterparts.
It’s time for Kentucky to jump on a school reform program that has now been adopted in 42 states. It’s time for Kentucky to move beyond a “protect the traditional public schools at all costs even when they don’t know what they are doing mentality” and do something right for kids, instead. It’s high time Kentucky offers the kids at Myers a real choice with a solid public charter school option.