In some struggling school districts around the country, students transferring from failing schools are overwhelming the few successful schools in their areas, an unintended byproduct of the No Child Left Behind law.
The issue arose in Prince George’s County this year, when the parents of nearly 3,000 middle-schoolers learned just days before school started that they could switch their children to the only two non-specialized middle schools in the county that met the law’s performance goals. About 200 families accepted the offer, taking their new schools by surprise.
The flurry of transfers – more than 700 in Prince George’s this year across all 12 grades – has packed classrooms while underscoring a tough aspect of the Bush administration’s landmark education initiative. It demands steadily rising achievement – all students are supposed to pass benchmark tests by 2014 – and, as a result, more schools fail every year.