Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Late Winter's Night Dream


So the school district isn't going to close any schools for the upcoming school year. That's great news for Eldest because it means he'll finish up at the middle school without the threat of its closure hanging over his head.

Daughter is in sixth grade. She has two years of middle school to finish. Under the best of circumstances, her middle school will stay open and she'll just have to deal with an influx of new kids from the closed middle school. In the more likely scenario, it will be her school which will be shuttered and she'll have to trek to a new middle school for eighth grade.

Youngest is in second grade. If his by-lottery school is the one that's closed after he finishes third grade, he's likely bounced back to his neighborhood school. You know the one? The one with the shittiest scores. The one which has made use of the "Safe Harbor" clause to avoid being in Year 3 of Program Improvement.

[Don't get me started on "Safe Harbor." Seriously. I've read up enough on its background and the backroom dealings on it to make myself sick. Let's put it this way: among second graders at the neighborhood school, 53% of all students are considered proficient or advanced in English-Language Arts. At his current school, 89% are. For math, only 47% at that neighborhood school are considered proficient or advance in Math. At his current school, 89% are. "Safe Harbor" is a way to be considered a success in the state of California. Hey, kids, it's the New Math!]

The trick is, if they make it through this year using the Safe Harbor chickenshit method of calculating "meeting goals," they could theoretically come out of Program Improvement. Come out of PI, and parents don't get to use their own backroom deal of saying, "Transfer him." Of course, if they do come out of PI after this school year, they'll be held to real standards again in the 2010-11 school year. At that point, 67.6% will have to be at least proficient in English-Language Arts and 68.5% will have to be at least proficient in Math. Fat effin' chance that'll happen, particularly because all the subgroups have to meet that standard as well.

More than anything, though, I'm totally aghast that the school district would close the highest performing elementary school in the district (and pretty much in the county as well): the lottery school. Research I've done shows the district pays substantially less per student at the lottery school -- by huge numbers -- than at any other school. But let's consider closing it. [Hey, kids, it's the New Math!]

Still reading?

If this comes to pass, particularly for Youngest, I'm considering homeschooling. [And not because I've pissed off the folks at the school with the shittiest scores. Hey, I'm not making (or keeping) many friends at the lottery school because I won't stop blogging about things like truth.]

Going to a private school just has the district not make money off the back of my kid through ADA (Average Daily Attendance). Homeschooling on my own has the same impact.

But if I go to a virtual charter school and homeschool that way, I'm pretty sure the district has to cough up the cash to pay for it. School districts hate charter schools for precisely that reason.

I wonder how many people know that? Do you think it's time to start spreading the news?


[Photo courtesy workitmom.com.]

4 comments:

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

This is where I think competition is a good thing. If X dollars are being taken for school taxes, and my county school suck, but the neighboring county has a great elementary school, then I should be able to direct my taxes to that school and my kids should be able to attend. If the sucky school had no money and no students? Then they would go away.

But, no. Really. Let's not do that at all. Let's make it shitty for everybody.

Tara R. said...

In hindsight, I would have enrolled my son in virtual school and homeschooled him from day one.

Keep up the good fight, keep telling the truth... the truth shall set you free.

mayberry said...

I didn't know that! My kid goes to a charter school, but it's a brick-and-mortar one.

mayberry said...

PS our charter shares a building with a traditional public school. At one of the PTA meetings a dad from the other school said something about how we're stuck with each other like a married couple and we should make the best of it. It was hilariously honest. You'd like him in your PTA.

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