Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » SCHOOL CHOICE DOESN’T WORK

    Filed at 5:36 pm under by dcobranchi

    At least not the type of choice allowed for in NCLB. The law allows parents of kids in failing schools to transfer to other (hopefully better) public schools. Education Next reports that there are several problems with this approach. The largest is probably that educrats have a vested interest in not allowing transfers out of the failing schools.

    In its first year, the transfer provisions of the new federal education law have had as much impact on the operations of the major school systems as a Ping-Pong ball fired at a battleship. In Chicago, of the 125,000 kids in 179 failing schools who were eligible to transfer to other public schools last September, fewer than 800 have switched. In Los Angeles, where about 200,000 students in 120 schools were eligible, fewer than 50 have changed schools. In New York, where 220,000 children in more than 300 schools were eligible, just 1,507 moved.

    There are all sorts of tricks that enabled this. In Chicago, the legislature passed a law allowing suburban schools to opt out of accepting transfers. As a result, only 1100 slots were available. In NYC, the educrats wrote such a confusing letter on how to transfer out that many parents just gave up in frustration.

    Rather than writing directly to parents, she says, many districts apparently sent the notice home in children’s backpacks—an excellent way to ensure that few parents ever see it. And for those who managed to fish out the notice from the swamp of old homework assignments, baseball cards, and snack wrappers in the backpack, the letters themselves weren’t much more illuminating.

    “The letter was not a particularly encouraging letter, and it was quite difficult to understand,” says Moskowitz. “I have a Ph.D. in American history and I had to read it about three times to figure out exactly whether this choice was guaranteed, and who do I contact, and am I going to have to pay for the transportation? It also wasn’t clear if I could pick a school out of my district.”

    …New York was hardly alone in cloaking the new options. One potential reason that so few students transferred in Cleveland, for instance, is that the district didn’t notify parents that the choice was available until four days before school began—at which point understandably few were enthusiastic about uprooting their children. In Los Angeles some parents were not notified until after the school year began.

    There is some good news in here, however.

    [L]ast fall the [US Department of Education] also issued regulations announcing that districts could no longer use a lack of capacity as an excuse to deny transfers to students in failing schools. That alone will require many cities to intensify their efforts.

    Eventually, someone in power is going to understand that a government monopoly (or near monopoly) in education is not only immoral but unworkable. When they do, let’s pray that they have the guts to take on the entrenched educrats and drain the swamp. I won’t be holding my breath.

    One Response to “SCHOOL CHOICE DOESN’T WORK”

    Comment by
    August 20th, 2004
    at 11:38 pm

    i would like to know if u have the test u take to go back into public school???im not sure if i will be in the right grade as im suppose to be in so i was wondering if ui could give me a free test to see if im truly supose to go into the 9th grade this year. im not really liking homeschool i miss my friends . thank u