NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

District Superintendents Drag Their Feet on Student Transfers

July 9, 2002

Parents of children attending high-poverty public schools that have been failing for two years or more now have the option of transferring them to another school in their district. Last week, Secretary of Education Rod Paige issued a list of 8,600 low-performing schools nationwide, where students would be eligible for the transfers next fall.

But many superintendents are complaining and objecting to this form of choice.

  • Even though they have known about the basics of the changes since the "No Child Left Behind" law passed Congress last year, they are claiming they don't have enough time to arrange the new transportation logistics.
  • Superintendents argue the money would be better spent fixing up the failed schools than spending funds for transportation -- but they failed to take advantage of that opportunity while they had it.
  • Superintendents contend that too many low-performing schools are on the list, but perhaps there are too few -- since some states could have been tougher about pinpointing troubled schools.

If we are to believe education officials in Arkansas and Wyoming, for example, there are no failing schools in their states -- which really suggests they were too lax in confronting their educational problems.

Michigan identified 1,513 low-performing schools -- more than any other state. But Michigan is noted for its strict education standards.

Source: Editorial, "School Districts Resist Law Offering Kids Better Choices," USA Today, July 9, 2002.

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