Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Schools or Why School Choice Is Important

A recent incident in the beleaguered Dekalb county school system, yet another metro Atlanta school district facing an accreditation battle, points up just why having a school choice is important.

The first participant is Lithonia High School. Last year the school did not meet the goals in the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) as outlined under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program, and as a result parents were allowed to transfer their kids to a better school.

Well many of the parents did just that and transferred their kids to a Arabia Mountain High School.

There are some distinct differences between the two schools. Arabia requires the wearing of uniforms and boasts of it's numerous academic achievements, although in fairness I am not sold on their whole environmental theme.
Near 100% pass rate on the Georgia High School Writing Test
Highest participation rate of any Georgia high school in the Garden Club of Georgia’s annual essay contest
Technology Student Association (TSA) – 2nd place in System Control Technology at the 2010 State Conference
TSA – 1st place in Agriculture and Biotechnology Design at the 2010 State Conference
TSA – 1st place in Electronic Game Design at the 2010 State Conference
TSA – Arabia’s Andrew W. elected as the 2010-2011 TSA State Reporter
TSA Vex Robotics team winners at the DeKalb County Vex Tournament
3rd place win in the Iron Chef High School Competition held at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School
Nine Arabia Mountain students were selected to perform in the 2009 Spivey Hall Honor Chorus

Lithonia applauds their athletes and on their main page post several warnings to the students and parents.
Punctuality plays an important role in the development of our students, and being on time to class further ensures optimal class time for instructional purposes.

As we monitor our hallways, we have noticed the number of students intentionally not arriving to class on time has increased. As you are aware, tardies are disruptive and interrupt the entire class during instructional time. Students having four classes in close proximity to each other and five minutes to transition to class on time, it is a reasonable expectation that all students are in class before the tardy bell sounds.

We have instituted a tardy lock-out process where occasional, random, unannounced tardy lock-outs will take place. Those students “swept” up in the lock-out will be escorted to the commons area where a discussion regarding punctuality will take place. The students will sign in, receive their tardy, and report to class. The awarded tardies will be cumulative, though if caught in a tardy lock-out, the following progressive discipline consequences will take place:

1st tardy lock-out : Warning/Parent Phone Call
2nd : Detention/Parent Phone Call
3rd : One Day In School Suspension/Parent Phone Call
4th : One Day Out of School Suspension with a
principal-parent conference and behavior contract
5th : Referral to School Social Worker

If a student misses 10 days of school, the Department of Motor Vehicles will rescind their driver's license or permit.

So what happened? Due to overcrowding at the high performing school the school was forced to bring in trailers. Citing a lack of space at the good school they located the trailers on the failing school grounds with the predictable results.

A fight, a near riot and vandalized trailers are why DeKalb County school officials moved 155 students from one campus to another Monday.

The county is going to separate the two schools but this points to one of the main arguments parents make for having a choice in which schools to send their kids too. Parents who are involved and concerned about their kids want to be able to send them to a school where they can have a chance to succeed. They want to get them out of an environment where low expectations are the norm. Remember the students at the high achieving school used to attend the low performing one, but once they were removed from that situation they suddenly became hated. When you punish success, or even the attempt at success you breed a mentality that becomes a deep seated hatred of those trying to climb above the station in life that has been assigned to them.

That applies to academics, business or any other endeavor in life. This lesson is lost on the fairness arguing folks. Life ain't fair. Never has been, never will. In the end we are left the choice to accept what happens to us and use it as an excuse to justify our failures or we treat it as a challenge and rise above it in spite of the obstacles.


msr said...

Let me guess.  The tranferred students were "acting white"?

Brigadoon said...

Wha...? Are you railing against the "soft bigotry of low expectations"? What you have here is a failure to communicate and I mean it litteraly. No respect to the parents use of free speech to demand and enact change. Mark Steyn lays it out perfectly here: http://www.steynonline.com/content/view/3987/26/

You see, who ever decided on bringing the annex into existence was ensuring those kids with concerned parents didn't get off the plantation. Parental rights ignored. The state kept the kids grouped together; "group rights over individual liberty, you’re mainly empowering not “minorities” but the state..." The funding and staffing for an annex is a boon for the unions so the students really aren't getting away from the system that failed them; "not just the collapse of liberty but the death of the human spirit." The parents don't even know the annex is contrary to NCLB. Ten years on and any cursory look at the DOE compliance letters will show that most school districts and even states are not in complicance with NCLB and IDEA; "There is something deeply sick about the willingness of freeborn citizens to submit to statist enforcers..."

Set up to fail if you stay or go; "maybe we should just put them all on welfare and be done with it." How mature of a high schooler do you need to be to not see the annex as other? A school that doesn't meet AYP for 3 yrs undoubtedly already has a gang culture.

Remember honor student Derrion Albert, 16 RIP, who got his head bashed in with a railroad tie when two rival gangs rumbled in Chicago? Obama was off trying to sell Chicago for the Olympics at the time. Our current DOE head, Arnie Duncan was head of the school board at the time they decided to doctor the books for budget and AYP mediation by closing one high school and combining it with another. Local parents protested combining two rival high school gangs to no avail, and Derrion paid the ultimate price soon after.

Nothing new here. The failure of the unionized welfare state giving flash headlines for politicians to mine for votes. Move along. Unless, you unplug from the system and homeschool.