Back in September, the State of North Carolina identified 48 low-performing public schools that could potentially be taken over by charter school operators as part of the state’s new Innovative School District. The goal of the program is to take elementary schools in the bottom 5 percent and turn them around within five years.
I am vehemently 100 percent opposed to this idea.
Charter operators would have control over curriculum design, as well as the ability to hire and fire teachers and administrators. The local district would still be responsible for the financial and logistical operations. Since then, the list, once comprised of 48 schools, has been reduced to four. The school board then has the option of relinquishing control — or shutting down.
When this was first announced, it hit very close to home. My elementary school, Ahoskie Elementary, was one of the original schools in the running to be taken over.
The Innovative School District is largely similar to (if not a carbon copy of) the Achievement School District that Tennessee began in 2011. That program has largely failed,with a 40 percent graduation rate that lags far behind the state’s 89 percent graduation rate. In regards to testing, just 8 percent of students tested in the top tiers of the state’s reading assessment, and 1 percent did so in math.