'No Child Left Behind' Transfer Policy Upsets Parents

Monday, September 24th 2007, 9:06 pm
By: News On 6

Many Tulsa Public School parents are up in arms over a ‘No Child Left Behind’ policy and they let their feelings be known Monday night. Dozens of parents met at Edison High School to ask why some Tulsa Public Schools don't have to accept ‘No Child Left Behind’ transfers. News On 6 education reporter Ashli Sims reports some Edison and Memorial High School parents have trouble with the transfer system.

At issue is a provision of No Child Left Behind.

That's the federal law that aims to hold schools accountable for student achievement.

If a school needs improvement, the law allows students from that school to transfer to another one that's succeeding. In Tulsa, there are only a handful of high schools not on the federal needs improvement list.

But not all of them have to take transfers.

With most of Tulsa high schools on the federal needs improvement list, students who want to transfer out of low performing schools don't have much choice.

Only three high schools, Memorial, Edison and Booker T Washington, are meeting state standards.

But only two are accepting ‘No Child Left Behind’ transfers.

"We found out that Booker T would not be required to accept these ‘No Child Left Behind’ transfers, even though the national, federal legislation provides that they may accept them,” says J. Greenawalt.

J. Greenawalt and his wife started an email campaign to protest what he calls an unequal system.

The parents say dropping new students into Edison High School six weeks after school starts is disruptive and it’s not fair for Edison High School and Memorial High School to deal with alone.

"It’s very hard for the teachers to plan who's going to be attending what classes. It's hard for the school to purchase the adequate number of books for the class requisite for teaching the kids,” says J. Greenawalt.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Zolkoski held a meeting Monday night to discuss the issue.

The district says last year 20 students transferred from ‘needs improvement’ schools to Edison, but only ten stayed.

Memorial High School saw similar numbers.

This year, Edison will enroll about 30 transfers from the ‘No Child Left Behind’ program. Memorial will have another 36 transfers.

For many of these parents, there's a central question: Why is Booker T. Washington exempt?

The district's answer is that Booker T. Washington has special admissions criteria.
Some Edison parents insist the system needs to change.

"For those children who must transfer, let’s distribute those students throughout the Tulsa Public Schools system and let those schools who are having success in education - educate,” says J. Greenawalt.

Monday was the last day for students to transfer out of their low performing school.

And some are asking why the transfers happen six weeks after school starts.

Tulsa Public Schools officials say they don't get the list of schools needing improvement until August.

So, it’s tough to make adjustments before the school year begins.

Watch the video: No Child Left Behind