Monday, May 09, 2005

School Funds Cut to Hire Consultants --

This article is from the Maui News and is written by Chris Berger.

"KIHEI – Complying with the No Child Left Behind Act could mean cutting educational programs at Kahului Elementary School, Principal Fern Markgraf said Friday. Markgraf said she was certain the school staff would find some way of restoring the funds being diverted to a contract with an educational consulting company because Kahului School fell short in meeting all of the standards set by the federal law.... The BOE on Thursday approved nearly $8 million in contracts for three private companies to restructure 24 Hawaii schools failing No Child Left Behind benchmarks. Edison Alliance was awarded a $3.9 million contract – the largest of the three – to restructure seven Maui schools deemed to be “failing” under the federal law....

The money to pay the consultants will come from each school’s Title 1 funds, federal subsidies given to a school with a large enrollment of low-income students... But in explaining the impact of the “failing school” designation on Friday, Markgraf said losing control of her school’s Title 1 funds “was a huge blow.” The money had been used for buying curriculum materials and paying for additional personnel, math camps and pre-kindergarten classes, among other things."

This is one of my pet peeves of this whole legislation. A school district, or school fails to make AYP (adequate yearly progress) as most schools are bound to do eventually because the way NCLB is written, there is no way 100% of a school can show this kind of growth.
Now, here's the rub, because it really only effects Title One schools, the schools most in need of help, because the other non-Title One schools do not get federal money. Okay, so a school fails several times, they now must take this money away from educating these most needy students and pay a private firm like Edison to come in a "fix" the problem. The money goes away from the kids and into the hands of a for profit business. Meanwhile the non-title one schools that fail to make AYP are written up as failures in the local news and go on their merry way, still in most cases, making an honest attempt at educating their kids to the best of their abilities, without any other sort of interference from the feds, because they receive no federal monies.

Does this really best serve all kids, especially those most in need, the ones this law is supposedly aimed at? I think not.

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