Friday, July 20, 2007

Transferring Up

Last year, I wrote that Jonathan Kozol's crusade against testing and NCLB makes him "a dangerous crackpot who will cause this country's most vulnerable children immeasurable harm." (my email explaining my views in greater detail is posted at:  Thus, when I heard that he'd published an Op Ed in the NY Times last week, I cringed -- but was pleasantly surprised to find that he did not bash NCLB (has he changed his views?  If anyone knows, email me) and instead made a constructive proposal to strengthen it:


Congress has an opportunity to take advantage of the opening created by  Justice Kennedy later this year when it reauthorizes the federal No Child Left  Behind Act. The law gives children the right to transfer from a low-performing  school to a high-performing school if the low-performing school has failed to  demonstrate adequate improvement two years after being warned of its  shortcomings.

Unfortunately, the transfer provision has until now been a bust. Less than  3 percent of eligible children have been able to transfer, in part because of  the scarcity of space in high-performing schools within most urban districts.  Although the law does not prohibit transfers between urban and suburban  schools, it offers no inducements to the states to make this possible.

Democrats in the Senate should therefore introduce an amendment to  authorize and make easier cross-district transfers -- not on a specifically  race-conscious basis, but solely to fulfill the professed intention of the  law.

Transferring Up
Published: July 11, 2007

LAST month's Supreme Court ruling on school integration came as a blow to those who have been watching the gradual dismantling of Brown v. Board of Education with despair.

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