Like just about every school district in the state of Washington, Lacey schools are on the No Child Left Behind failing list.
Parents in the Lacey area will receive a letter this Friday letting them know if their individual school is on the list of failing schools, and what options they have under the federal act. Along with the notification will come a letter from school superintendent Rahj Manhas explaining that the federal act has long ago out-lived its usefulness and that congress is looking at doing away with it.
Most states receive Title One money which is used to help low income schools. Those which do are required to bring all of the students in those Title One schools up to 100 percent passage in math and reading.
Almost no schools can reach the 100 percent mark, and states have been asking for exemptions from the act. States had to ask for and receive exemptions on a regular basis. Until recently, Washington had received an exemption, along with 42 other states.
But, during the last session of the Washington State Legislature, the Washington Education Association used its muscle with the Democrats to kill a bill asking for an exemption. The union was opposed to using student test scores for evaluation of teachers and principals, although most states in the country has adopted that rule. Such an adoption was necessary if the state was to get an exemption from the No Child Left Behind Act.
Now, most of the schools in Washington are failing and will be punished.
The North Thurston district received about $2.4 million in Title One money each year to help six designated schools. These schools are designated low income from the number of free and reduced lunches served each year.
In the North Thurston district those six schools are: Chambers Prairie, Mt. View, Meadows, Lacey, Lydia Hawk and Pleasant Glade.
Four of those schools have been designated as “failing”. The district will let parents know on Friday which ones they are. Parents with children in those four schools will be given an option to get additional tutoring or help in moving their child to another school. To fund those options, the district must set aside 20 percent of its Title One money to do that. In the Lacey district that’s about $625,000.
In addition, the district has to set aside another 10 percent of its Title One money for additional staff training.
The district could also be required to either change personnel at those failing schools or bring in an outside agency to run the schools. The act does allow other forms of restructuring.
This upheaval isn’t just confined to Lacey schools. Other local school districts will also be impacted.
All of this mess is because the Washington Education Association used its muscles with Democrats to kill a bill asking for exemption from the act just as 42 other states have already done so.