Here's a quandary. All four elementary schools in New London, CT have failed to make adequate yearly progress for two or more consecutive years. Unable to offer intra-district school choice, the school system is required under NCLB to ask neighboring districts to offer inter-district choice. And so New London did--and got "no takers" from any of its eighteen surrounding districts. Hardly surprising since New London is a typical struggling urban district, abounding with socioeconomically disadvantaged students. But particularly telling was the response of Susan Kennedy, chief of the state Department of Education's Bureau of School and District Improvement: "New London's request to other districts single-handedly satisfied the NCLB requirement that school districts offer public school choice, whether or not other districts agree to take on New London's students." Legally speaking, Kennedy is right--proving that those who think the feds can force meaningful change on recalcitrant states and districts are woefully wrong.

"No Towns Willing to Take New London Students," by Jenna Cho, The Day, October 6, 2008

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