For the time being, parents in three Columbia County schools have made the best choice: Their kids are staying put.
The federal No Child Left Behind law, which promises enhanced accountability for schools in the long run but currently is sowing confusion, opened the doors for parents to remove their children from Title 1 schools deemed low performing on standardized tests for more than two years in a row.
Three of Columbia Countys schools fit the category by failing to show improvement during the past two years of testing. So kids in North Harlem, Euchee Creek and Grovetown Elementary became eligible to move to other schools.
County officials are heaving a sigh of relief, however - just six students are jumping ship. But even that small number confirms one of the initial worries about the program: It isnt poorly performing students seeking relief from bad schools who are being moved by their parents; rather, it is students who already are doing well who are shifting to other campuses.
Fortunately, The numbers are so low, theres not much of an impact, says Gloria Hamilton, the countys Title 1 instructional development director.
The best students, in most cases, are those with involved parents. If those parents pull their kids out of one school and send them to another, the old school will be hurt by the loss of a good student, but the already good-performing pupil isnt likely to do any better just by swapping campuses.
The lackluster response to the program demonstrates that most parents trust their neighborhood schools, and are willing to work for improvement rather than abandonment. Thats the best school choice of all.
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