The “Opt-out” Schools Controversy

The controversy-du-jour with Guilford County Schools involves creating and finalizing the list of so-called “opt-out schools,” as it relates to schools that fail to make AYP (federal benchmarks as a result of NCLB). See today’s News & Record for more on this.

Readers of this blog and followers/supporters of this school board campaign will recall that Kiser Middle School is an opt-out school, and we’re seeing the results of that with fights, violence and major discipline problems. Now comes word that the GCS Board is “concerned about shuffling students farther from home” (oh God, here we go again) and putting pressure on other crowded schools, prompting Board members to come out and say they won’t promise a final list of opt-out schools by the end of the month.

“We’re changing them [opt-out schools] around every year,” board Chairman Alan Duncan told the N&R Thursday. “That’s not satisfactory.”

Reporter Morgan Josey writes: “The district plans to request school board approval of the list of opt-outs for failing traditional schools and magnet programs March 29.”

Josey’s article also mentions Kiser’s challenges: “Kiser has faced its own challenges accepting more students without additional federal funds, said board member Kris Cooke. “Kiser is struggling,” Cooke said of the school’s growing enrollment and previous discipline issues. “That cannot continue.”

Duh, Ms. Cooke…so what are you doing about it? Isn’t it uncanny and a bit ironic, Kris Cooke, that I’ve talked to probably more Kiser staffers about their concerns and issues in the last few weeks and I’ve pledged to be an advocate for those folks.

Complaining and recognizing that there’s a problem is one thing, doing something about it is an entirely different talk-show.

E.C. 🙂

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