AYP transfers: Does anybody win? Does anyone know?

One of the most contentious provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act is the AYP transfer mandate in which students from schools deemed failing can transfer to schools judged as more successful.

The problem is that the wave of students transferring can tax the receiving school. Not surprisingly, no one in the state keeps track of whether students who exercise their right to transfer to another school end up doing better than their classmates who stay put.

In theory, you might assume that kids would do better at a “better” school, but they may lose ground if the classes are overcrowded or they have adjustment challenges to a new setting. If transportation home to their neighborhoods is a problem, then the students may be less likely to participate in after-school activities or evening programs.

And there is the overarching debate over whether the AYP designations are even remotely accurate in depicting “good” and “bad” schools.

There were so many transfer requests this year to Druid Hills High School in DeKalb that the county created an “annex” to the school in the empty Avondale High School building on the corner of Memorial and Columbia Drives, four miles from the actual Druid Hills campus. The district was responding to concerns of Druid Hills parents who complained that their school already had absorbed  200 students from Avondale High after it closed in May.

It is not just DeKalb parents who are concerned.  As a Fulton parent noted in an e-mail to me: I think it would be nice if a follow-up story could be done about the transfers of south Fulton students all the way to Northview and Chattahoochee high schools.  Many that I know are not pleased that these schools are now at capacity or almost over capacity.  I am curious to know how this affects class size and morale among students and teachers.  I also wonder how the teachers fare in understanding the issues with students that must travel so far to come to school.  (tiredness, inability to fit in with the rest of the school community)  I don’t like what DeKalb has done by putting all of those students in an annex.  Sounds very strange to me.

Here is the news story where the AJC addresses the thorny NCLB transfer issue:

More than half the transferring students in metro Atlanta’s core counties are in DeKalb County, where about 1,300 have asked to change schools this year. Amanda Glover, 14, is one of them. Her mother, Shelia, is willing to drive her to a school that has met the benchmarks established under the No Child Left Behind Act.

“It’s all about academics, 100 percent about that,” said Shelia Glover, whose daughter would have been a freshman at Towers High School had it not repeatedly failed to make those benchmarks. “Their scores in math and reading have really collapsed, and I absolutely want my daughter to go to college,” Glover said of Towers. “We had no choice but to send her to a better school.”

Her definition of better is Druid Hills High. The school was among the county’s leaders on the SAT in 2010, with an average score of 1513. Towers’ average score of 1134 was the lowest of DeKalb’s high schools and well below the state average of 1453.

But Amanda and about 300 other transfer students are attending an annex the school system opened on the grounds of the recently closed Avondale High after hearing complaints from Druid Hills parents about crowding. The transfer students, now housed four miles away from Druid Hills in the shadow of a Walmart in a less affluent part of the county, must take a bus to the main campus if they want to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities. Their testing scores will count toward Druid Hills’ scores.

It’s an example of the contortions forced on school systems and parents by No Child Left Behind. Each year, the law raises performance standards and the list of failing schools grows. This year 379 Georgia schools failed to meet those standards for at least a second year in a row, an increase of 74. Students at those schools are entitled to transfer.

The DeKalb school system has not studied whether transfer students do any better once they have changed schools. School officials say their role is simply to follow the law.

Twenty-two of DeKalb’s schools, about one in six, failed to make AYP for two years in a row, meaning their students are eligible to apply for transfers. About 6 percent did so, according to the school system. Students who wish to transfer can choose from four high schools, three middle schools and three elementary schools designated to receive them.

Because students who have already transferred do not have to reapply, the effect compounds over time. This year, about 14 percent of DeKalb’s roughly 100,000 students are attending a different school as a result of No Child Left Behind. DeKalb school board member Jesse “Jay” Cunningham said too many have abandoned their local schools.

“We need to quit thinking that the grass is greener on the other side,” he said. “We need to keep our kids in our neighborhoods. We need to give our local schools the tools they need to do their jobs.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

95 comments Add your comment

d

August 22nd, 2011
5:20 am

The problem is that the students who end up transferring are usually not the students who caused a school to miss the AYP goal – the students who are doing just fine or exceeding. People take AYP as an all or none, and that is understandable due to the way the law is written, but they fail to look into why a school is missing the mark. One example, several years ago, a middle school in Gwinnett missed it two years ago because they had enough students who had specific learning disabilities in math to form a subgroup – and to no one’s surprise, they missed the mark on the math CRCT. The entire school was labeled as needing improvement even though every other group did fine on every other marker.

Heaven forbid a school miss it based on attendance – a thing that is usually beyond the control of the school, or graduation rate which leads to students being pushed through the system that aren’t ready all in the name of AYP. Graduation rate has lead to programs that let students make up assignments months after they failed to do them the first time to keep students on track to graduate. What lesson does this teach a student? There are no firm deadlines? How is this helpful for real life?

Ernest

August 22nd, 2011
5:35 am

d is correct, this is one aspect of the law that should have been rewritten immediately. Only those in the impacted subgroup should be given the option to transfer, not all students in the school. As a result, we now have an environment where some look for their school not to make AYP so they can have the option to transfer along with getting mileage reimbursement for transportation.

Someone mentioned a possibility to me recently as to why DeKalb residents leverage this more than other districts. DeKalb had a long history with ‘M to M’ transfers so some in the community had a long expectation of leaving their home school for another. That ended and in the eyes of some, ‘replaced’ by the transfer option with NCLB. Yes, many students leaving their home schools could probably benefit from the other remedies offered such as tutoring services. Unfortunately the school district cannot mandate which option a family chooses for their student. The district could violate the law by not making families aware of the transfer option.

I think from a psychological standpoint, some think by sending their child to a school where many of the children may not look like their own, the quality of the education received will improve.

As mentioned on this blog several times, hopefully we will get to a point where academic growth can be used as a measure instead of simply a hard score each year. This can demonstrate whether progress has been made based on where the student entered the school year.

Percentage of Transferring Students Passing Test?

August 22nd, 2011
5:46 am

What percentage of the transferring students are
passing the CRCT ? Are the transferring students
some of the best students in the various districts
using the provisions of NCLB to relocate to schools
with fewer discipline problems,and better resources?
AYP has so many subgroup hoops to jump through
that many good schools are falsely labeled as failing
schools

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 22nd, 2011
6:15 am

Educ-rats always win because their checks keep coming.

biffalobuff

August 22nd, 2011
6:22 am

The transfer option ends up gutting schools that are already struggling–schools which have already lost many of their students due to magnet program options and the various school transfer shenanigans that characterize DeKalb county. Ernest, you seem a bit of an apologist for the district office, because they make no effort to entice students to stay at their local school if it misses AYP. They could do this by offering an array tutorial and enrichment services, which is an option under the NCLB mandates; as usual though, they have taken the easy way out by pushing transfers. Now we have the kind of unholy mess plainly visible at the DHHS annex and the overcrowding problems at Lakeside and Chamblee. Again it begs the question, what is the district office going to do to address the huge proportion of failing middle and high schools in the county?

Ernest

August 22nd, 2011
6:27 am

biffalobuff, not an apologist but a realist. I’ve personally spoken with those that have opted for the transfer option. Most know what they are doing. They also know the law is on their side.

The issue is with the law, not the school districts. DeKalb’s situation is the way it is partly based on past history with leaving one’s home school for another.

Receiving School Counselor

August 22nd, 2011
6:27 am

As a counselor at an AYP receiving school, I can attest that overcrowding creates many new issues. Students have longer lines in the cafeteria giving them less time to eat, crowded hallways which make them late for class, and must wait for textbooks until more teachers are hired. Regarding counseling services, unless it is an emergency, students must wait days to see a counselor as caseloads are 500 or more per counselor. This is frustrating for not only the students but for the personnel at each school as we cannot offer the same quality environment as in the past.

catlady

August 22nd, 2011
6:45 am

What surprises me is the way Dekalb/Druid Hills is ghettoizing those kids at that annex. How can that be right? Do we go back to putting sped kids in trailers out back, too? I thought NCLB said the receiving school had to be one with room for the transfers? DH obviously must not.

catlady

August 22nd, 2011
6:47 am

And to Jay Cunningham, one of the things those schools with out-transfers most desperately need are students with goals and parents who support them. The school system cannot make that happen. It is a choice that rests with the individuals.

an insiders view

August 22nd, 2011
6:47 am

Yet another instant where they have just totally dropped the ball.

First, transfers are required by the NCLB act. There is no way around them. In fact, DCSS has a waiver that allows their schools an extra year in Needs Improvement before transfers must be offered. (Tutor is offered first.) It is not an either or situation. By year 3 in Needs Improvement, a school must offer both.

However, there are multiple options for accommodating transfers and in September of 2010, Ms. Tyson promised parents at a meeting that the system would utilize some of those options for the 11-12 school year. The system already had several empty buildings which could have been converted to either new DeKalb schools or turned over to a charter operator. Rumor is that Beasley and Berry just didn’t get it done.

In the Spring, Dr. Beasley announced that there would be no more annexes in DeKalb. He didn’t like them, didn’t think they worked, etc. However, he didn’t inform the board that there were just a couple of options to be receiving schools. In fact, when a board member questioned him, he was evasive and perhaps even flat out lied. So, when it became apparent that Druid Hills couldn’t handle the students, all of sudden an annex was back on the table.

A better option would have been to use Avondale Middle or most of Avondale High to open an actual school. NCLB simply requires that families are given two choices — not necessarily two choices they like. My understanding is that there are about 400 students who have choosen a different high school option this year. That would have made for a nice, smaller community, school. But opps, you have to plan for that.

Will anyone lose their job for gross negligence and incompetence? Nah, this is DeKalb.

On top of the

Dunwoody Mom

August 22nd, 2011
6:48 am

Last school year at a DCPC meeting, Ms. Tyson mentioned that DCSS was looking at a “charter like school” for AYP transfers. What happened to that? It seems to me that Avondale HS would have been a perfect choice. It is centrally located. Also, wasn’t there a law just passed that Charter students may return to their home schools to participate in extra-curricular activities? That would give these students a new atmosphere, but still allow them to experience the school activities they wish to?

Dunwoody Mom

August 22nd, 2011
6:59 am

At the Chamblee “annex” @ Elizabeth Andrews last year, they started out with around 200 students and by the end of the year they were under 100. What happened to these students? Did they go back to their home schools? Did they drop out? Will we see such attrition with the Druid Hills annex?

an insiders view

August 22nd, 2011
6:59 am

(On top of the AYP transfers, Druid Hills saw its attendance zone changed and neighborhoods were added from a much less desirable public school, Avondale High, to Druid Hills. Multiple families, who had been homeschooling, using private schools or using a choice program elsewhere in DeKalb decided to use their new home school, Druid Hills making the situation fairly dire.)

Actually, NCLB doesn’t allow systems to use capacity as a reason to deny transfers. DeKalb had only 5 high schools that could be receiving schools, and one of those was out because of massive overcrowding from past AYP transfer waves. Druid Hills and Chamblee were the only traditional schools available and then Arabia Mt. and DeKalb Early College Academy, which are choice programs.

The 40 or so families who opted for Chamblee High have just sentenced their children to attending school in trailers for the next two years, as Chamblee will be torn down and rebuilt. In addition, Chamblee is far less diverse than I think people in S. DeKalb understand, especially outside of the magnet program. So I expect that the children the transfers are sitting next to look a lot like the children at their home schools.

an insiders view

August 22nd, 2011
7:01 am

Actually, there were 200 spaces available, but only about 120ish took advantage of them and by the end of the school year about 40 students had left, probably back to their home schools.

The annex for Druid Hills was apparently offered to 400 students but only about 250 took them up on it. I suspect that you will see some attrition.

Jennifer

August 22nd, 2011
7:11 am

This whole topic is assuming that parents are reacting to the label of Needs Improvement and are incompetent enough to react to a label without regard to how their child is performing or learning.

What parents are reacting to is that they do not believe their child is getting a good education at their home school. If for once folks could suspend belief and trust that parents know what in heck they are seeing – then the real issue centers squarely around educational inequities between schools and the right to attend a quality school regardless of your zip code.

Just an Observation

August 22nd, 2011
7:16 am

Some of the APS schools in the Grady and North Atlanta feeder pattern have been boasting about how students are flooding into their schools, by transferring from the private academies, due to the economy and their phenomenal performance record. Therefore, they want more allocation of funding, staff and a new HS. I wonder where the money is for this? Someone needs to verify the authenticity of the addresses of the students which are flooding these schools and investigate the parents who are filing false affidavits to get into these terrific booming schools. I think you will be shocked at what you see.

Sally

August 22nd, 2011
7:36 am

I’ve been on both sides of the AYP transfer issue. The first was in 2006 when we transferred my older daughter from one Hall County high school to another. The second is being in a school that receives AYP students. The first worked out wonderfully, as the receiving school was new and not at capacity. It also provided my daughter opportunities she wouldn’t have had if she had stayed at the first high school, where her guidance counselor didn’t even know her name or even seem to care what classes she took – much less guide her into her interests. There were fights daily and gang activity and even though while she was at that high school, she stayed away from it, she also never accepted invitations to even socialaize – because there was so much drunkenness and doing drugs within the student body! The receiving school found her strengths and she flourished, finding her life’s work. The second one is ridiculous! We moved to the area that so happened to be a receiving school for AYP (unbeknownst to us), so my daughter is a new student, too. Just getting registered was insane! The secretaries and counselors were over-worked and then DeKalb gave the guidance office furlough days the week before school was to start! My daughter’s classes are all over the school, and her locker, which she shares with someone she’s never met and has taken all the room alreadyd, is in another area yet – but they’re not allowed to carry backpacks (though they have rethought that and are allowing them clear ones now).

So – to those who wonder if it does any good to transfer – it did for my older daughter. For my younger, it remains to be seen, but some of those kids look kind of thuggish, if you ask me.

teacher

August 22nd, 2011
7:49 am

Football programs

atlanta1

August 22nd, 2011
8:05 am

There is no doubt that any Federal Program that is designed to ‘help all’ usually has more than it’s fair share of problems that ends up helping few.

With this said, Georgia should write their own laws ‘with teeth’ and funding to support parents of kids who want to insure that their kids get a better education, if the schools in their district are failing them. Only exception should be that it has to stay in the county.

Regarding the Teacher’s simple answer – football. While there is ‘no doubt’ that this goes on “every where”, including kids moving into counties and living with other families or simply using an address of someone who is ’supporting the cause’ – that is not what this is about. (It’s a different story all together).

With this said – it is clear that the law is forcing districts to find ways to improve and to work harder in every neighborhood to keep kids in their local schools. And that folks…. It a GOOD thing.

Atlanta mom

August 22nd, 2011
8:10 am

How do charter schools fit into this problem? Are they required to take AYP transfers? I’m guessing not. So, if there was ever an arguement for charter schools, this would it. Your child will not be in an over crowded school.

Anonmom

August 22nd, 2011
8:16 am

At LHS many transferred under LHS for safety/security… DCSS really needs to address this underlying problem… all schools should be safe — kids who want to learn should have safe environments and shouldn’t be forced out to shift to hour+ rides to and fro for school. It puts a real strain on the receiving school. My local kids were pushed out and we’re now private. My son couldn’t move in the halls during class transition time, no time to use the facilities, no time to eat lunch, no lockers, — there’s more to capacity than just how many trailers can be squeezed onto the grounds… there are real constraints with plumbing and cafeteria and counseling. You can be in an AP class with 38 kids or with 15 in private school… its not really fair to the residential kids (or to the transferring kids who aren’t really part of the school). Then there’s the fact that there are real differences between the schools on the block schedule and those on the 7 period day… the credit hours don’t transfer too well and they are often at different points in the curriculm. Finally, I’m not sure it’s logical to have 4 or 5 high schools with the vast majority of the kids in the county (Lakeside, Druid Hills, Dunwoody, Arabia and Chamblee- maybe SW Dekalb) – each at almost 2000 kids a piece and the other high schools are under 500 each (I think Cross Keys is around 1000) — it seems to me that with tutoring and better quality administration and teachers throughout the system (and discipline) the kids could be more evenly balanced and all could have a better shot at succeeding. The teachers at the overcrowded places don’t seem to be in great moods and oftentimes take it out on the kids……

cobb mom of 4

August 22nd, 2011
8:28 am

@Maureen: When exactly is the transfer option required, after 2 years or 3 years? Cobb County website indicates that a school must have 3 years on not making AYP before school choice is required. My son’s middle school didn’t make AYP due to Math in 2009/2010 and then Math & Language Arts in 2010/2011. Since he is in the gifted program and I closely monitor his coursework & progress, I am not so concerned about what he is learning. But I would like to have been given the option of sending him to a higher performing school.

Excerpt from Cobb County School District website:
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides parents with the option to seek enrollment of their children in another designated school if their home school has not met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets in the same content area for three consecutive years. This requirement is called the “ESEA School Choice Option”.

Dad

August 22nd, 2011
8:29 am

I am a parent that is taking advantage of the transfer option. Last year the Chamblee Annex was a challenge, the kids were looked upon as outcasts at the main campus.But still this was more tolerable than our home school of Lithonia. I had every intention of “staying home” but in all honesty, I owe my child more than that and the situation is downright embarrassing at LHS. My child has enough problems associated with the teenage years, without having to be labeled a nerd because he is trying to be something in life, or having to avoid pot smoke and alcohol on campus. The truth hurts but it is what it is. If the same amount of energy was put into educating our kids as it is in prepping them for athletics or hoochie mama dancing, the school’s in South DeKalb would be in a much better state.

Write Your Board Members

August 22nd, 2011
8:44 am

The problems in S. DeKalb start with poor leadership from their board members and from the central office and that trickles down to the quality of principals and therefore the quality of the staff.

Dad — have you ever challenged your board member Jay Cunningham about the poor quality of Lithonia High School? Have you asked him what steps he has taken to make sure that things are improving? Now that we are at, ask him how a superintendent from a district of 1 high school can fix the 16 or so that need fixing in Dekalb? Ask him why he is supporting Atkinson?

Finally, find someone to run against him, who can ask better questions and just do a better job period.

alm

August 22nd, 2011
8:59 am

“School officials say their role is simply to follow the law.”
Their role is to give all children a proper education. It’s frustrating that DeKalb is so reactive and not proactive.

HS Public Teacher

August 22nd, 2011
9:00 am

Ultimate Choice – this is what happens. The people making the choice (parents?) do not really know what the choices are or what this means to the student.

People in favor of “choice” are simply running on knee-jerk emotion without any reason or logic.

Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 22nd, 2011
9:00 am

The problem will never be solved as one cannot educate those who refuse to learn.

SW

August 22nd, 2011
9:07 am

I agree with everyone who believes that the AYP transfer option is being exercised primarily by parents and students you would want to remain in the home school (involved parents; excelling students). One of the reasons parents take advantage of the transfer is to put their students in a better environment — both academic and safety.

But many are also opting for the opportunities that are available at some of the “better” schools. I often hear acquaintances talk about the classes their child is taking, some of which are not offered at my child’s school. The perceived lack of equality is a reality for many parents and students; especially those with college-bound students.

As far as tracking to determine whether the transfers make a difference. I would assume that for some, that is the case. But for a number, I assume that they would do well whether or not they remained at their home school. They probably have the sort of parents that would find other ways to supplement what is missing at their home schools.

But as long as the AYP transfer is an option, people will take advantage of it and there will be little or no motivation to make needed improvements at the home schools.

Once Again

August 22nd, 2011
9:09 am

If you aren’t transferring to a private school or being homeschooled, what really has improved. The problem lies with government operation of the schools and the inherent failure that comes with it. How is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic really going to save any of these kids from drowning in the bureacratic mess that is government run education?

Lee

August 22nd, 2011
9:15 am

My guess, a significant percentage of the parents were looking to transfer anyway. NCLB and AYP just gave them the means to do so.

A Conservative Voice

August 22nd, 2011
9:29 am

@Fulton parent noted in an e-mail to me – I don’t like what DeKalb has done by putting all of those students in an annex. Sounds very strange to me.

Yeah, most of what the DeKalb School Board does is strange – of course, they’re strange people, so what more can we expect. Hmmmmmmm, question…….If the “Old Avondale HS facility” is suitable for a Druid Hills Annex, why was it not suitable to be left as “Avondale High School”? Voters, if you’re smart, you’ll vote “NO” on the 1% Bond Issue Referendum……..this will send a message to these “strange people”.

Write Your Board Members

August 22nd, 2011
9:32 am

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/planning/files/HS_students_20100915.pdf

This chart is from September 2010 and shows the number of students (high school only) transferring. It is shocking to see that 700+ students have transferred from Lithonia High and MLK High. These are not only AYP transfers, but students who are using the variety of choice programs DCSS offers.

Good Mother

August 22nd, 2011
10:05 am

My children’s school is overcrowded and it accepts transfer students and my kids are in trailers…but…I cannot and would not deny the child who wants a transfer. I’ll dig a little deeper, work a little harder to make sure that transfer student gets the education they deserve.

It’s a disgrace that American public schools are failing to educate our citizens. An educated citizenship is the key to democracy. A child cannot learn when surrounded and covered in incompetence. Toomer Elementary is a malignant tumor on our society. They failed over and again to teach and they cheated on those tests and covered it up and lied. Every kid deserves a transfer out of that education cess pool.

So, sure, Dad, and others, I welcome you to my overcrowded school. Good for you for doing whatever it takes to get your child educated because at the end of the day, your educated child becomes the backbone our American body depends on.

Dad

August 22nd, 2011
10:08 am

@Good Mother….Thank you.

quantivious's mama

August 22nd, 2011
10:09 am

@write your board members, considering the area, i find it shocking that parents are removing their children from mlk high–i would have the thought that the instructors there were getting great parental and community support. @everyone else, i feel your pain. do whatever you have to do within the law to ensure your child receives the best education possible.

Write Your Board Members

August 22nd, 2011
10:10 am

Good mother,

We have no way to really know if the students’ outcomes are really any better with a transfer. In fact, studies on voucher programs generally find that the students who apply for vouchers, regardless of whether they actually receive one, generally have the same academic outcomes.

Good Mother to @ Fulton

August 22nd, 2011
10:10 am

A Conservative Voice and @ Fulton say “I don’t like what DeKalb has done by putting all of those students in an annex. Sounds very strange to me.”

Sounds not only strange but unfair. We’ve created an “us” versus “them” mentality. It should be “we”. Smacks of separate but not equal. It’s shameful.

Write Your Board Members

August 22nd, 2011
10:11 am

I forgot to add about Arabia and MLK that they are very close to Arabia Mountain, which though originally meant to be a neighborhood school suddenly morphed into a school of choice. Lots of MLK and Lithonia students are there.

Arabia should be returned to a neighborhood school so that enrollment can be balanced in that part of the county.

Good Mother to Write your Board Member

August 22nd, 2011
10:16 am

Board Member, you say that “Write Your Board Members We have no way to really know if the students’ outcomes are really any better with a transfer.”

Tumor elementary had rampant cheating, cover ups, lies and thievery. I don’t need a study to tell me that the students who endured the travesty of Toomer’s tumor need to get out of there. Any teacher who would cheat, lie and steal does not need to be around children.

Obviously, there are schools who get it right. Let’s give those schools the most important thing on the planet — our future, our children.

Happy Feet

August 22nd, 2011
10:20 am

One of the first questions I had was “Why weren’t the kids that transferred tracked?” That would seem to be a logical thing to do. There should be no transferring unless there are seats available. Instead of putting more buses on the road and paying for “annexes” and all the costs involved there, that money could be better utilized. The problem with most schools come from parents not being involved, incompetent teachers and incompetent administrators mixed with a Central Administration and BoE who just don’t get it.

As a volunteer, I have had the opportunity to observe several students who are transfers and what I see is a student who really has no vested interest in the school or community, bad attitudes, and a total lack of respect for people or property. We would all be better served if the focus went back to keeping the kids in their neighborhood schools and getting to the root of the problem with that particular school as each school will have separate and unique challenges.

RJ

August 22nd, 2011
10:24 am

As a parent of students in South Fulton, I would never send my child that far away. I know of several north fulton schools that didn’t make the AYP this year. Where are those students going to school? This year our high school didn’t make AYP, but last year we were a choice school. Many of the choice students were low achievers that wreaked havoc in the building. Fighting, smoking in the bathrooms (and not cigarettes), class cutting, etc. Classes were over-crowded as well. It was awful. I’m almost grateful that we didn’t make AYP. Those kids went back to their zoned school.

This year our local middle school, which has been making AYP for a while now, is a choice school. Of course I’ve already heard of the blatant disrespect for authority and it’s only the second week of school.

I don’t care for choice and wish it would just go away. Although our schools our in South Fulton, not all are equal. My child was shocked by the behavior and dress of the students. I really think parents should do more to improve their kids schools. I stay involved in mine and so do many of the parents in the community. This is why our schools usually make AYP.

Dekalb taxpayer

August 22nd, 2011
10:30 am

Atlanta mom, Chamblee is a charter school and they are being required to take AYP transfers. I don’t know whether this applies to all charters.

I think NCLB was designed to work in a system with mostly successful schools and a few underperforming ones. The students from the unsuccessful schools were allowed to escape to the many good schools, thus giving the failing schools an incentive to improve (supposedly). In a system like Dekalb where you have many, many unsuccessful schools (for a variety of reasons—uninvolved parents, incompetent administrators, and poorly educated teachers, among them) and very few successful schools, it is a nightmare. The few life raft schools such as Druid Hills, Lakeside, and Chamblee are being seriously harmed by this program. Someone at the federal level should have foreseen this.

Maureen, I also think that in a poor county like Dekalb, the financial incentive to send your child across the county to a “better” school is great. The check those parents get (based on a pretty high per-mile amount)is yet another government handout for some families.

Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 22nd, 2011
10:32 am

“It’s a disgrace that American public schools are failing to educate our citizens.”

BAH! Its the parents who refuse to get involved. The students who fail do so because they are disinterested, dumb and/or their parents couldnt care less what they do.

Lets address the problem NOT the symptom.

Duluth

August 22nd, 2011
10:37 am

AYP gives parents an excuse to cheat and send their kids to the school of their (parents) choice. Bets are the kids want to stay at their neighborhood schools. These parents are taking the easy and entitled way out and not staying local to do the work to make their school a success. It is easy for a parent to let someone do the work they refuse to do!

These kids are not at these schools long term anyway. They are sent to another MS or another HS because the permissive transfer does not carry on. What kind of a sense of community is that for a child?

These parents that “use” AYP only care about perception that their child is getting better. They are not involved which is the problem in the first place.

Get rid of AYP and No Child Left Behind. GCPS is going to pay a bigger price than Dekalb. Parents are going to continue to sneak their kids here in record numbers.

Dunwoody Mom

August 22nd, 2011
10:37 am

Charter schools which are part of an LEA can be a “receiving” school. I think the rules are a bit different for stand-alone charter schools as they are not part of an LEA.

Marney

August 22nd, 2011
10:50 am

One of the BIG BIG values issues that the public Charrettees that took place last fall as part of the 2020 Vision plan was a universal concern with inequity of course offerings and unevenness of quality of programs, staff, and school environment throughout the Dekalb system. The historic engrained response that savy parents learned, and the district bureaucrats conspired to give because it was easier, was transfers. “Transfer” the questionable staff to places where parents are swamped by other concerns of don’t know enough to demand better and “transfer” the parents that complain out to where the staff is better. After a while everyone-staff and parents-figure this out and first you have a shuffle to the ships that are better run and manned, and then you have a general exodus of those able to do so.

I have a child at DSA, which is the other wing from the Druid Hills Annex. I actually suggested last March into the 2020 parent comments that something needed to be purposefully designed to go into the other wings of the building for AYP transfers and that it needed to be purposefully designed for that.
The school culture at DSA is one of welcoming and acceptance and it has been the general view of all the PTA folk and kids with whom I have had an opportunity to discuss it, that these kids that are coming from everywhere to the annex may not have the GPA’s, test scores, and artistic talent that are required to get into DSA–but they are welcome. We just have to all figure out the logistics of sharing the space during dropoff and pick-up times. The kids I am driving by from the annex when I pick up my child each day do not look like “Thugs” to me. And, in point of fact–I live in the Clarkston High school district–which has not passed AYP for more years than any other school in DCSS. My neighborhood kids,who go there tell me: “You can get along OK, if you choose your friends wisely.” I’m not interested in my son’s mere survival depending upon who he chooses to “hang with”. If my son is not able to get into DSA next year, I may well consider that annex.

Last spring DSA put on a production of “West Side Story”—which is all about the way that group dynamics, labels, and expectations can destroy individual lives. I think the DSA kids “got it” –I don’t think the DCSS adults do….

William Casey

August 22nd, 2011
11:34 am

I was at Northview in North Fulton when it opened. The school quickly got a reputation as a “good” school and it was. Soon, there were many transfers in, obviously not because of AYP, but because parents believed that there was something magic about attending a “good” school. Seldom worked out largely because of the intense competition and the shock of much higher standards. This transfer deal seems a shell game to me, leaving the weakest students behind at the “failing” school.

William Casey

August 22nd, 2011
11:45 am

DR. NO, who I often cross swords with, is absolutely right on this one. No program can educate a person who is determined not to learn. NCLB and such are simply “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Lisa

August 22nd, 2011
12:30 pm

In my experience as a teacher at a supposedly low-performing school, the parents who request transfers are either those who had no intention of ever sending their child to our school, or those who were already doing well in our feeder pattern but didn’t want their child to be with the “riff-raff”. The law was designed to allow struggling kids at non-AYP schools to have a chance to go to a “better” (wealthy, more homogeneous) school. Fine. I’m not thrilled with that, but I can understand it.

But, from what I’ve seen in the past eight years, that rarely happens. Kids who don’t make 800 on the CRCT almost always stay at my school, either because they don’t know the transfer process or choose to remain there. And the high-performing kids from wealthier families who are motivated enough to request transfers and arrange transportation are the ones who get to go to a posh school in another part of the county on the public’s dime, while their parents get to buy a fancy house in a new (gentrifying) subdivision that they couldn’t have afforded in the posh school’s attendance area. Was that the NCLB authors’ original intent?

@Good Mother

August 22nd, 2011
12:34 pm

Did your child go to Toomer? You seem to have a particularly strong opinion about the school, so what exactly was you experience there?