Friday, March 05, 2010


By John Fensterwald in The Educated Guess

March 4th, 2010 -- The state Department of Education has now set Monday morning to release the list of 187 or so “persistently lowest performing schools” that the federal government insists must be restructured. That will allow districts and  independent analysts only two days to review the list – and perhaps lobby for changes – before the State Board of Education votes on the final list at its March 10 meeting.

The Legislature set the criteria for determining the list in the bill it passed in January to improve the chances of winning a Race to the Top grant. There are  enough quirks, however, that it’s possible that some of the worst performing schools will escape the list, while better performers will face sanctions.

The state board has the final say; that’s why it’s been important to make the list public. But the Department of Education has said since January that Washington has disputed the methodology. Only this week, it said, has the list been nailed down, and districts begun to be notified.

Districts will be given four options for a school on the list: close it, invite in a charter school, fire the staff and rehire no more than half, 0r “transform” the school through a longer day and other structural strategies. Any of the actions is an important last resort for a chronically bad schools, but most districts would rather avoid them.

●●4LAKids’ sources report that principals and schools on “the list” were informed Thursday afternoon at 2PM in a conference call.

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