Learning to live with failed schools.

Stuck in failing SchoolsThe Texas Tribune has a report on the low number of students that transfer out of failing schools.

Under a the Public Education Grant program created by the Texas Legislature in 1995 and now mirrored nation-wide, students in schools that were persistently rated a failure were eligible to transfer to other schools. According to the Texas Education Agency just 283 out of the 437,064 who were eligible transferred out of these failing schools last year.

The idea was relatively simple. Identify bad schools and allow students go get out. Of course, the details made this both difficult and problematic.

First, the state decided to use standardized tests to measure schools. The subsequent parade of tests (TAKS, TEKS, etc) that followed suggested that the methods contributed to the madness of deciding who is failing.

Second, as the TT story points out, leaving a under-performing school creates other challenges–for those who want to transfer and those who are left behind.

The low number of transfers tell us that the Public Education Grant transfer program is itself a persistent failure. If this program were a public school it would be closed down. In the meantime, we’re spending lots of time and money on standardized tests and state bureaucracies. Just remember: accountability begets bureaucracy.

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Update: An editorial in the Fort Worth Star Telegraph comes to a similar conclusion.

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