"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

NCLB's Logistical Nightmare in CA

The Los Angeles school district is the latest victim of NCLB's impossible mandate to provide transfer options for students in failing schools. The U.S. Department of Education is threatening to withhold millions of dollars in federal aid from California because the state has failed to help students transfer out of low-performing schools. Never mind that there is no place for them to go.

Public school administrators like L.A. Superintendent Roy Romer who can't rustle up an extra 160,000 desks within a few weeks, are under attack by parents, school voucher proponents and community organizations for not complying with the law. Clint Bolick, of the Phoenix-based Alliance for School Choice and John Mancino who heads up the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education have joined forces to sue two CA school districts.
In an unprecedented move, Spellings has given California six weeks to come up with a plan that would allow students in failing schools throughout the state to transfer to a better school this fall.
If the state does not submit a plan that Spellings deems adequate, Doherty says the education secretary will withhold part of the $700 million California is due to receive this fall in federal Title I funds, which are earmarked for high-poverty schools. And that, department officials say, is no empty threat.

California officials told NPR that what the U.S. Department of Education is asking for is going to be a logistical nightmare: Every failing school -- and every school district -- where parents have tried, unsuccessfully, to transfer their children out now faces a six-week deadline to make sure those students find a new school.
Yes, NCLB is a nightmare -- for some -- but a dream come true for the privatizers and the faith based.


  1. The whole story about Spelling's memo is getting so overblown. You might want to take the time to red the DOE "ultimatum", or maybe take a look at my post on the story. The DOE is far from threatening to withhold funds. They are asking for a report. If they don't get a satisfactory report, they might ask for more, or maybe outline possible sanctions later.

    Big deal.

    The lawsuits may be more noteworthy and more troubling. I have not researched them yet. But the DOE action is a lot of hot air.

    Frankly, LA could be doing more to tell families about the state of their schools and the options that are available. The scary prospect of 160K students transfering is phony. It just does not happen, even in districts that are honest about informing families and offering them choices.

  2. I suggest you read Michael Winerip's farewell column in today's NYT. If the hacks and cronies at DoE really cared about the poor children in LA or anywhere else - they know what to do but the politicians continue to hide behind a flawed and failed education policy as they continue their attack on public schools and teachers - gets them off the hook for not doing their job.