For the nearly 20,000 children at the 48 elementary schools under some kind of federal sanction, there are 11 alternatives. None is located in wards 7 or 8. The schools are Cleveland (Ward 1); Hyde (Ward 2); Mann, Hearst, Key and Janney (Ward 3); Barnard and Shepherd (Ward 4); Langdon and Noyes (Ward 5); and J.O. Wilson (Ward 6).
"This is a problem that school districts across the country face," D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said in a statement. "That's why the administration is focused on increasing school achievement levels, hiring strong teachers and principals. . . . All in an effort to prevent this type of predicament in years to come."
The scant choices are not the only problem, parents and school activists say. The notification packets were mailed Aug. 5, giving families less than three weeks to make decisions and apply for transfers before classes begin.
Rhee's spokeswoman, Mafara Hobson, said the information could not have gone out earlier because results of the District's annual standardized test, the DC-CAS, needed to be "crunched, analyzed and verified" to determine which schools were failing. The data weren't available until mid-summer, she said.
"We mailed the packets as quickly as possible," Hobson said.
Monday, August 18, 2008
When NCLB can't quite do what's intended
One of the more powerful tools the No Child Left Behind Act gives parents is the ability to move a child from a school deemed "low performing" to a school whose students perform at a higher level. This, in theory, works pretty well if only a small percentage of schools in any given district are bad. But in the District's case, where "low performance" is the rule, not the exception, exercising that right becomes a whole lot more difficult.