Are the worst schools in America about to get an overhaul? Don't count on it. Using numbers released from the Education Department (and posted on the Fordham website here), the Associated Press's Ben Feller reports that 1,750 schools across the country now face "restructuring" under the No Child Left Behind Act. That's up 44 percent from last year. While the law requires a "major" retooling of these schools, most jurisdictions are using a loophole that allows them to implement weak-tea reforms, such as adopting a new curriculum or hiring a "coach." That's like mowing the lawn when your house is on fire. The administration's reaction to this chicanery is blasé. Assistant Secretary of Education Henry Johnson says about districts' approaches to restructuring, "I don't know that we have a preferred way." These are schools that have been failing for at least six years in a row. If Johnson's looking for a "preferred way," we're sure there are plenty of students and parents with some ideas.
"Rising numbers of schools face penalties," by Ben Feller, Associated Press, May 9, 2006