Saturday, May 21, 2011

What’s the plan? (cont’d)

One of the questions I’ve wanted our local school officials to answer is about how they are going to handle intra-district transfers as an increasing number of schools are designated Schools in Need of Assistance (“SINA schools”) under the No Child Left Behind laws. The district is required to allow students in a SINA school to transfer to a non-SINA school. But because the test-score progress targets ratchet up each year -- requiring 100% proficiency by 2014 -- it’s inevitable that the number of SINA schools will continue to grow, while the number of schools the kids can transfer into will continue to shrink. At some point very soon, we’ll end up with a small handful of schools that will be legally required to accept transfers from every remaining school in the district, stretching their capacities well past the breaking point. What’s the district’s plan for handling that problem?

This week, our local paper asked the superintendent a series of questions about the state of our local schools. As usual, none of them touched on the actual content of our kids’ school day, or about how kids learn, or about what it means to be well-educated. (For some of those questions, see this post.) But the paper did ask about the transfer problem:
Q: How is the district going to handle the growing number of transfers from SINA schools?

A: The requirements under Title I are that we set aside 20 percent of our (federal) Title I dollars to serve two needs: tutoring and transportation. A minimum of 5 percent has to go to tutoring and a minimum of 5 percent has to go to transportation. We’ve allocated a full 15 percent to transportation … for students who wish to exit their schools and go to a non-SINA school. That number is predicated on our Title I allocation and the federal government, as they go through their budget reauthorization process, has and will continue to consider reductions in Title I funding, which means as our Title funding is decreased, the 15 percent we allocate to transportation decreases. Then we have to go through a process that is required under Title I … by which we prioritize who is eligible to receive transportation, and it’s based on eligibility for free and reduced lunch. It can be based on your achievement and, as we look at who will be transported, we will have to do it based on those federal guidelines.
Well, that sure clears it up!

1 comment:

KD said...

Yeah that was certainly a non-answer. I don't think allowing kids to transfer to other schools(under the SINA provision) has helped education at all.

It certainly makes it harder for the schools to know how many teachers they need.