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Entrance to Normandy High School where Michael Brown attended school.
A new study out this week shows that the Normandy school district, the district where Michael Brown graduated only days before his death, is the lowest-rated school district in the state. The district's rating declined 40 percent in a single year while under control of the Republican-led state board of education.
If districts are thought of as students, most in the class are doing well, competing with each other for the top spot and gold stars. A smaller portion of the class is struggling, but making some improvement.

And just one is on the extreme end of failure. ...

Normandy’s standing slipped even lower on this year’s state review. Student test scores dropped further, and so did attendance. The district received just 7 percent of possible points, down from 11 percent in 2013....

The 3,000 students in Normandy schools last year faced a number of stresses, such as the midyear closure of an elementary school, teacher layoffs, dwindling finances and media coverage of the transfer situation.

Wealthy districts in the St. Louis area scored between 95 and 99 on the same scale that awarded Michael Brown's school a 7.

The rest is below the fold.

In Missouri, school district performance is scored on a 100 point scale, and districts that fall below a score of 50 are in danger of losing accreditation. The scoring is not based entirely on academic performance. It includes values such as the number of college-track courses and students going on to college, which makes the formula favor districts with higher income. The common theme among struggling districts is the same—poverty. There are no unaccredited districts in wealthy areas. Normandy operated on provisional accreditation for several years before losing accreditation in 2011.

Most school districts draw the bulk of their income not from the taxes levied on individual housing, but from property taxes paid by businesses. Near-city districts in the St. Louis area suffered from both white flight that reduced the value of homes, but also business closures that left little commercial base. The situation at Normandy school district is particularly bad because in 2009, the state board forced the underperforming Normandy district to merge with the even more troubled Wellston district. It was the first change in district boundaries since 1975. At the time, Wellston had been unaccredited for six years, was deeply in debt, and many of its schools were little better than ruins.  

Wellston was already under the control of state-appointed leadership and in the previous year had shown improvement. Having Normandy swallow the ailing Wellston district, rather than simply trying to fix Wellston, obviously raised some concerns.

Many of the questioners cast doubt on the wisdom of taking an unaccredited district like Wellston and making it part of a district like Normandy that has only provisional accreditation.

At that time, people also asked what the financial effect may be on Wellston and Normandy families; officials said those details were not yet worked out. ...

Noting that Normandy itself has only provisional accreditation, Karen Nance said she did not understand how putting the two districts together will result in the kind of student achievement that educators say they want.

She also wondered why the public was only told about the proposal at the last minute, when it appears to have already been decided.

"I think the community does have good questions about what was the process," she said. "Why did it go this far without other ideas being discussed?"

In an effort to sustain their schools, voters in Wellston—whose schools were 100 percent African American—had already raised their tax rates to the highest in the state. Normandy had the second-highest rate.  

The decision to merge Wellston and Normandy was made by the state board of education. Chris Nicastro, the state commissioner of education, announced the merger and made it clear that no outside help was forthcoming.

Through it all, Nicastro stuck to her message: Wellston's facilities are inadequate, its students have not made enough academic progress, its superintendent is retiring, its finances are stable but weak, there is little hope of more help from the state and this is the right time to try something new.
Neither the Wellston district nor the Normandy district was given any option. Nicastro was supported by the state board of education, which appointed her as commissioner. The state board of education is led by Peter Herschend, a conservative Republican millionaire from the Branson area who owns Silver Dollar City and 25 other amusement parks. Nicastro and Herschend are now in direct control of the Normandy district.

State law allows students at unaccredited districts to transfer to neighboring districts. Many Normandy students took this option in 2013. However, at the end of the school year the state board dissolved Normandy School District and replaced it with a "cooperative" that had the same schools, same students, same woeful finances. Only the state accredited this new entity citing its ability to ignore its own rules. The state board is now arguing that Normandy students are no longer eligible to transfer, since they don't attend a failing district. In fact, they don't belong to any district, so they can't sue for relief.

A comment from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article linked at the top of this diary shows the attitude of all too many. When someone pointed out that Jennings, another highly African-American district, was doing much better than Normandy, they drew this reply.

Jim Aiello
The students at Normandy are darker skinned blacks than the students at Jennings. It's a known fact that lighter skinned blacks are smarter...LOL.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 05:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tipped & reced & Rs ruin everything they touch (39+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 05:29:46 AM PDT

    •  So Much So That It's Hard to Know What "Failing (5+ / 0-)

      under Republican direction" actually means.

      It could be an excellent commie public school that's depriving lucrative profits from some deserving global education corporation, or keeping thousands of the public's souls from The Lord's tuition; of course it could otherwise be an educationally failing school full of thossssse people that somehow managed to improperly hang onto any taxpayer dollars.

      Goes to show you that Republicans are even able to fail in their own terms --rating a district so low that thossssse students were able to transfer out into normal peoples' schools, till they plugged that hole in the dike.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 05:37:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but there was a "Dem" in the gov's office. (5+ / 0-)

      He may have had limited power in an R state, but he should have been paying attention and trying to raise awareness, at least.
      The "Dems" are part of the problem.  The Dems aren't.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 05:53:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Merging those two schools was the opposite (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs, David54

        of what should have occurred to pull them up.

        Back in the 90's in Pinellas County, (St. Pete, Clearwater) we started having "magnet" high schools with special programs and most started in St. Pete in struggling areas.  It attracted the best teachers and pulled up many of those schools with academics (and as an off note, athletics, especially when the program emphasis was liberal arts-related or I.B.)

        My daughter traveled from north county to attend St. Pete High School (grad-'98) which had the only county I.B program at the time and she received a much better high school education than her younger brothers in our NE Clearwater suburban high school one block from our home. (I enjoy seeing the advertisement of Charlie Crist walking the halls of his and my daughter's high school alma mater... it's an architecturally fascinating old Spanish-style structure and carries much local pride)

      •  He's a white supremacist like most (4+ / 0-)

        They talk a good game, but he is about screwing over non-white people because he can or it's expedient or both.

         He was the AG who got rid of bussing because.

        I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

        by a2nite on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 08:16:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How many Dem's on the School Board? (0+ / 0-)

        Protest that works comment by nomandates Registration Table Change the culture 100% registration.

        by 88kathy on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 12:51:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They even ruin many businesses they touch. (4+ / 0-)

      Even though that SUPPOSEDLY is their great strength.

      If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Rabbi Hillel the Elder, Ethics of the Fathers. Corporadeus

      by Floyd Blue on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 06:35:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Their idea of running a business is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elizabeth 44

        extracting everything of value from the business and then leaving the empty husk. Either that or creating a huge corporate behemoth that crushes all the competition and the screwing its customers.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 11:51:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  See::: Bain and Meg Whitman and John "The Ho"-- (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JuliathePoet, iubooklover, Anne056

          See::: Bain Capital and Meg Whitman who claimed that "A monkey could run eBay"  

          And See:: John Donohoe (aka The Ho) The monkey who is DESTROYING eBay.

          7 YEARS into his 3 YEAR "Disruptive Innovation" plan to TURN AROUND a flourishing company the stock is trash,  sellers and buyers are leaving in droves,  they are being sued (again!)  for illegal activity;  no one--NO ONE--has spoken personally OR accepted ANY responsibility for the ENOURMOUS hack that divulged thousands upon thousands of customer related accounts  and passwords to "Unknown" parties and who waited MONTHS to even TELL the publioc that there WAS a hack---

          Shall I go on?

          Mitt Romney WAS Bain

    •  Should college be the "Be all and end all"? (7+ / 0-)
      It includes values such as the number of college-track courses and students going on to college, which makes the formula favor districts with higher income.
      The classes themselves should be what's important and how well the students learn.
      •  College can't be "be all and end all" (4+ / 0-)

        for everyone.  If it were, we'd never have any plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mechanics.....and what a difficult world that would be.  Three of my children did go to college, but none ended up in the field of study as a career.  Too often a student doesn't really know his/her real talent or interest until it's rather late to change majors.  Then it's either go with what you began (even if you're not truly happy with it) or spend scads of time and money following a different path.

        I think every high school should offer both academic and practical courses to all students, and insist they take some of both.  My brother-in-law taught in high school and was head of a large school district's academic staff, then led a more technical school which taught students how to do all sorts of things, along with how to handle management problems in the field they studied.  They had some very successful graduates, some of whom ended up with their own businesses.  We all ought to know a bit about how to handle tools and how to make and mend things, of course, but for those who are not college bound, there should be good training in practical fields.

        •  Majors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And most colleges and universities make you declare your major at the start of your junior year.  That was 19 years old for me.  I even told my adviser that I didn't know enough about the world to have an inkling of what I wanted to do with the REST OF MY LIFE!  Duh.  And since pensions went the way of the Dodo bird decades ago, more and more people change careers more often anyway.

          I like your idea for a diverse mix of classes.  We should also offer more classes in life skills, empathy and conflict resolution (think role-playing), critical thinking, and what we used to call "civics."  Kids need to learn how to acquire sources of information, analyze that information, and draw conclusions about that information without influencing prejudices from teachers and mentors.  A little of that is currently being unwittingly accomplished via technology.  The internet and mobile devices have enabled the average American youngster with more information at her fingertips than ever before.  Efforts like this site seem to be a good way of "keeping them honest."  I've been here, mostly lurking, for quite a while, and I have yet to see a right-wing argument win on the basis of reason or logic.  Or as the saying goes, "Reality has a left-wing bias."

        •  The kids who---- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          iubooklover, Spasmodialprime

          The kids who go to the Vo-Tec or BOCES type schools tend to STAY in the communities they grew up in and help GROW them--

          Yes they are the plumbers car mechanics hairdressers nurses health aides child care workers carpenters vet techs cooks restaurant owners large and small equipment repair  hotel and motel owners ---

          In my rural area MOST of the college kids LEFT and will NEVER come back.  My Engineer son will NEVER return.  The girls especially --if they go to college---they will move somewhere else;  if they stay here they will have a few kids before they are 25 and probably will not have decent jobs.  

          This is not a criticism--this is observation over the long term.  

          Yet the schools try and FORCE the idea that COLLEGE is the ultimate goal of ALL---and that if you go to the BOCES you are some how--less.  

          I don't see it that way.  

          It's time we had a well trained work force that is PROUD to use their hands or their minds to build their lives with.  

    •  "R" is for "ruination." (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs, cotterperson, Lily O Lady

      It's what they're good at.

      Marx was an optimist.

      by psnyder on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:02:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Today's Sesame Street is brought to you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        by the letter "R" for "ruination" and the number 1 which everyone is to look out for.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 11:53:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This makes me sick (9+ / 0-)

    Of course, the voters in other districts probably are happy that no additional funding is going to Normandy.
    I wonder what the budgets were for the two districts before they were combined - I bet they were half of what some other higher performing districts are.

    •  Yet these taxpayers are paying the highest %age. (0+ / 0-)

      What most people don't realize is that poor communities DO support their schools.  They often support them at a higher %age of property value than the rich.  They just have such a low tax base, that they don't raise enough to have well funded schools.  That is why some states have equalizing funds to help out.

  •  They also "terminated all contracts" on dissolving (20+ / 0-)

    the Normandy school district. Another rethuglican bonus. Screw over the students and the teachers all in one move.

  •  No money available for learning.... (23+ / 0-)

    Yet all that money for police war toys!
     Clearly police are higher up the food chain than teachers.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 05:46:08 AM PDT

  •  Problem with schools is one of many in Ferguson. (13+ / 0-)

    The place finally exploded with strife, one too many oppressive encounters, one too many low performing schools, one too many young Black men with no future to hang on to.  One too many police asked to raise taxes by writing tickets and cause the citizens to resent them.  Warrants written for every family in Ferguson and thereby enmeshing common people in a judicial system that they felt was stacked against them.  How many other communities are on the edge of this kind of civil strife in America?  Too many,  I bet.  

    •  Ferguson is not Normandy school district. (4+ / 0-)

      Michael Brown was staying with his grandmother in Ferguson.  He went to school in Normandy where he lived with one of his parents.  

      Ferguson is part of Ferguson Florissant school district.  It is not facing the same issues as Normandy with state takeover.  

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 07:19:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who cares? (0+ / 0-)

        It's just another symptom of the problem.

      •  Brown's graduation ceremony only had 2 gowns. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They had to each pass them down to the next graduate. I'm thinking they were facing the same issues. No tasseled cap to toss in that celebration.

        “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

        by nutherhumanbeing on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 08:40:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Brown went to Normandy. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sethtriggs, cotterperson

          he did not live in Ferguson.  Staying with his grandmother that summer there.  

          Please read more closely.

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 08:50:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've heard this (0+ / 0-)

          but recently saw a video of his graduation with a crowd of kids standing around in gowns. I wonder where that idea came from. Gowns and caps.

          You're gonna need a bigger boat.

          by Debby on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:28:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? Interesting. I read it from a Diary about (0+ / 0-)

            his graduation photos. I'm guessing they rented them on the grad day maybe?

            “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

            by nutherhumanbeing on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:52:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Guess I'm just basically a refutable kind of guy (0+ / 0-)

              today. =)

              “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

              by nutherhumanbeing on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:54:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I read that, too, (0+ / 0-)

                and bought it, but saw a photo of multiple kids in gowns recently. With the talk of schools today, I googled it and saw a video of Mike Brown with a group of kids in graduation gowns. It's curious. I wonder where that came from.

                You're gonna need a bigger boat.

                by Debby on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 11:51:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think what I read wrong was that it was the (0+ / 0-)

                  photo op and not the actual graduation. The only thing I kept at my grad was the cap. And that fairly worthless piece of paper.

                  “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

                  by nutherhumanbeing on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 02:57:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We just kept the tassel. Still have it pressed in (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Just Bob

                    my year book after all this many years.

                    Our gowns and caps were rented. I graduated from a very middle-middle class school.

                    I also saw pictures of everyone wearing gowns at Michael's graduation.

                    As far as failing schools, I still think it's falls to the parents to see that their kids get a good education. Parent/teachers associations, parent/teacher meetings, school board presence, etc.

                    They have to motive their kids and also be a role model. Books, magazines, even the occasional trip to a museum or other events outside their cultural community.

                    While we weren't poor, my family might have been classified as lower middle class financially, but we had a  few books in the house and a subscription to Life magazine which opened the world up to me. Even as a young child I remember lying on the floor paging through the large pages with photos from all over the world.

                    My dad read the daily news paper and listened to the nightly news on the radio (we did not have a TV until I was about 10). I saw this and thought that was the way adults behaved and the way I'd be expected to behave.

                    It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

                    by auapplemac on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:53:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Not his graduation ceremony. It was for his (0+ / 0-)

          graduation pictures. The school supplies those. Graduation cap & gowns are the responsibility of the parents, at least they are as far as I know..

          People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. --V for Vendetta

          by WFBMM on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 11:53:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not true at all (0+ / 0-)

          I checked. I don't know where the diarist got that. It may be that the photographer only had two gowns. Read diary carefully. It is the grad photograph

      •  Thanks, for the clarification on the school (0+ / 0-)

        school districts, yes it is important to have the facts correct.

      •  Not Facing The Same Issues Yet... (0+ / 0-)

        Sinquefeld is doing a good job of trying to get as many districts to fail as possible.  I just moved from U City which is probably one of the next targets after Ferguson-Florissant.

        •  That makes me sad. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I lived in U City until the middle of 8th grade in 1984 when my Dad took a job outside of Chicago. He had previously been a professor at Wash U. I attended public schools and got a fine education. I was in the minority being white and Christian. Most of the students were black as were many of my teachers. I'll never forget Mrs. Rodgers who taught 7th grade social studies. She read The Jungle in class and taught us about the power of unions and organizing and how it changed America. She had a profound effect on my world view.

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.”― Upton Sinclair

          by Save the Mitten on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 01:55:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. Too many. And this is where the problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      really exists. The media plays it that this is just one incident and the community is just overreacting, but this is exactly how riots in this country break out. I'm disgusted with the media's portrayal of that. Sycophants and pussies.

      Communities all over the country are like a bomb waiting for the fuse to be lit and Shaun Hannity's talking about how he always steps out of the car and lifts his shirt to display his legally carried pistol. So respectful he is and law abiding. Bullshit. He tries that shit in Dallas and he'll learn quick enough. I hope he shoots himself.

      I swear I would laugh my ass off at his funeral.

      “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

      by nutherhumanbeing on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 08:37:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  merge the lowest proforming school districts (15+ / 0-)

    that surprise, surprise are almost? completely AA, give them no funding

    I suspect the only concern of the board was that no white school districts were harmed i any way by this process.

    how is his not illegal "separate but unequal" schooling that was subject 50 years ago?

    oh yeah, its the house patterns excuse,

    support Thomas Lofgren, progressive candidate for Minnesota house of reps district 20A

    by mollyd on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 05:57:47 AM PDT

  •  Jobs. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Dirtandiron, cotterperson

    and opportunity.

    I'm shockingly conservative when it comes to education, I think it's up to the parents to instill discipline and most importantly to foster self-discipline in their children, and it's up to the children to understand that they have to put in the work and graduate from one level of self-discipline to the next, each year.

    However, you have to have jobs and you have to have a reality-based sense of opportunity for society to work in that way.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 05:58:55 AM PDT

    •  But even when the discipline is there, (7+ / 0-)

      there have to be resources available for the kids to use.

      When one high school has textbooks for everyone and another just a few miles over has barely class sets and they're a decade older, even the most disciplined self-teachers in the schools are going to have vastly different outcomes.

      And that's the level of funding disparity that's happening now.

      You can't take AP Calculus if your high school can't afford to buy textbooks past the highest math course required to graduate, or maybe the one after it, and if they plus the parents can't afford enough graphing calculators, personal and school-owner loaner combined, then there goes the expectation the kids can pass the AP test because there's a section that DEMANDS students understand the calculus functions on a TI-83 or above.

      (Heck, the AP disparity gets worse than that. I went to a high school that had the money to cover most of the cost of an AP exam for each student taking each course. My ticket to senior prom cost more than all my AP fees combined. Down the road, where schools couldn't foot that, it was full price and they couldn't foot that because the parents didn't make enough to afford it either. So I went into college with a full-load semester worth of already-earned credit my family paid under $200 for if you count the graphing calculator and someone just as academically inclined just across town would have potentially had to take student loans out - unavailable for AP fees, available for the more-expensive college classes - and would have paid more for those same credit hours, all because of class availability disparities and exam fees.)

      •  My no. 1 prescription (and I'm no expert) (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Victor Ward, eru, sethtriggs, cotterperson

        is to hire more teachers. That and the physical resources, too.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 07:47:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think taxes for all U.S. schools should be (6+ / 0-)

          distributed evenly. Obviously, rich communities are going to have more tax revenue in their districts. I can't believe the system ever got that way in the first place. It is a straight recipe for disaster.

          “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

          by nutherhumanbeing on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 08:47:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  By far the major driver against public education (4+ / 0-)

            which exploits the economic disparity to make it even worse is the religious right. They hate public education because it is "secular". They exploit the conditions that we see as a result of the declining middle class, then their politicians prevent adaptation to change.

            The "fiscal conservatives" that got swept in in 2010 immediately set about granting tax holidays that created budget crises that was used as the excuse to attack public education and teachers, and passing laws restricting abortion rights, and trying to push back against same-sex marriage rights.

            The religioius right has been working on this for decades. I think they realize it's now or never for them to seize power permanently and control their issues or have the demographic door close on them permanently.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:04:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And all simply because they cannot stomach that (0+ / 0-)

              prayer was lifted from the classroom. Pathetic. Anyone can pray. People pray everyday in places that do not have a formal time and place for it. They want biblical creationism taught in school, but rage at any other religious notions of human origin.

              The hilarious thing is that when they had those privileges in public schools, they completely ignored the subject and the school. Like, that box is checked...move on.  

              “...I'm glad I'm not afraid to be lazy!” ― Augustus Mc Crea, "Lonesome Dove"

              by nutherhumanbeing on Sun Aug 31, 2014 at 03:41:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  We had--- (0+ / 0-)

                We had--still have for that matter--at least one teacher who pulled HER kids OUT of our highly rated school because --as she told ME---Our school didn't MEET her childrens religious NEEDS.

                I told her--extremely loudly it turned out!--that in THAT case perhaps SHE should stop accepting MONEY from OUR  godless school to provide the TUITION for those children and she should go teach in that "Special"  school HERSELF.  

                This caused her brain to go into a tail spin.

                She had--NO answer to this.

                Ironically enough --sitting down??? one of her KIDS is teaching at--you guessed it--- OUR school now.  

                And she is not even a good teacher!   She told my math dyslexic kid that she didn't have to WORRY about learning math---as she would "Always have a calculator"!  (Long before the days of cells BTW)  Course you don't get to have a calculator when you take a Regents---and you should have a general idea of what kind of figures you are going to end up with even if you can't "Do the math in your head".

                Needless to say--my grand kids are now in the same school and have some of the same teachers as my kids did--however !  They will NEVER have either of these people--I will home school them if that is the only option for that year.  .  

  •  We HAVE to change the way schools are funded (15+ / 0-)

    Poor areas have poor schools and wealthy areas have good or better schools. It is not mysterious, it is not hard to understand, it is reality of public school education in this country. And there are multiple ripple effects.

    All the parents who place an emphasis on the quality of education for their children and who have the ability to, aspire to move to the areas with "good" schools. This has a effect on businesses and on property values in general. The school districts considered good add value to the property in those areas and vice versa - a "bad" school will drive down or cap values in a neighboring area - all due to the school systems. This system can also promote segregation by both class and race as a by-product.

    IMO schools should be funded by the state. The burden should be moved out of property taxes and the states should add a VAT for eduction on all purchases with the monies distributed on a per student capita basis. That way ALL citizens of a state, whether owner or renter will contribute to education and the distribution will not favor one area over another. I also think bonds should be issued by the state to replace aging crumbling schools and also to put into the poor districts to bring them to parity with the richer districts.

    The way we are doing it now obviously doesn't work.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 06:11:50 AM PDT

    •  PL - a large number of states now do provide (4+ / 0-)

      the bulk of K12 education funding. In many of those states the state courts have required nearly equal per student funding, which has compelled the states to supplement the local tax revenues for K12 education. One of the big losers in this shift of budgets has been state college and university funding, which has declined significantly in nearly all of those states.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 06:28:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are lots of ways to do it wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I warn people often to look to Kansas to see what the future might hold. We've had quite a few experiments over the years, some more successful than others.

      In our state, we've implemented some of your suggestions for school funding over the years. And we've found some problems, some by design.

      I see your observations about "good" and "bad" districts here all the time. But our approach to fixing the problem hasn't worked, and in some areas made it worse. Here are some things to think about before "trying this at home":

      We've (sort-of) capped per-student spending. This was done for the (stated*) reason of equalizing education for rich and poor alike. Problem #1 with that is that some districts just need more money per student to get the same results. The most notable example in our state is rural districts where per capita costs are higher simply due to economies of scale and distances. Smaller schools and school districts are more costly to run. But consolidating them into larger schools and districts increases transportation costs and forces kids to travel farther every morning and afternoon. #2 is older districts. Older districts have older buildings and older populations. The old buildings cost more to maintain, heat and cool, and declining numbers of kids cause half-full buildings and neighborhood school closures. And #3 is urban districts where statistically more kids start school with less preparation (like pre-K) and parents are less able to provide outside and extra opportunities for their kids (tutors, music lessons, educational material in the home, etc.).

      Then there's the property tax thing. We cut income taxes and limited property taxes that had paid for state and local school funding. To make up for it, we did raise sales taxes. I would argue that this is actually a more regressive funding method. After all, renters weren't getting a free ride -- landlords pay the property taxes on rental properties, and these taxes are part of the costs that affect rental housing supply and cost. Now sales taxes are in the 9% range (and sometimes more) and these apply to everything, including food and other basic necessities.

      Growing, well-off suburban districts also have another advantage that further aggravates inequality. Bonds can be issued by districts for capital expenditures like new schools. And local taxes can be collected for those bond coupons that don't count against the cap. Since a newly-built school has greatly reduced maintenance and utility costs, and the construction costs don't count against the cap whereas maintenance and utilities do**, the extra money can be spent on education and programming. And bingo, de facto cap raised. The newer district next door -- built on plowed ground -- has district-funded extras like Spanish classes at the primary level. We provide that in our older, but still fairly well-off district by PTA donations. The older, less well-off district neighboring us on the other side funds those enrichment programs by, well . . . not providing extras like that.

      So I'd say that your suggestion of state funding could help public education, there's no guarantee. You have to be very careful at the statehouse, because opportunities for bad decisions and outright sabotage are plentiful. Take a look at what we've done, and use our experiences when fixing school funding in your own states. I know Missouri Republicans are looking to replicate the Kansas "experiment". Don't do it, Missouri.

      *IMO, that stated reason we heard here in Kansas was disingenuous. Conservative Republicans really just wanted to cut education across the board, and the cap reflects that.

      **And these facilities aren't even necessarily crumbling, there just older. Old buildings just cost more to fix than recently built ones. And many were retrofit with A/C and have older, more expensive lighting systems.

      May contain literary devices. For adult consumption only.

      by Dead Eyed Suburbanite on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:44:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why Michael Brown tragedy (10+ / 0-)

    has to be more than just prosecuting Darren Wilson.

  •  Four students successfully sued. (8+ / 0-)

    They can return to the schools they had transferred to last year.

    But in a stunning "make it up as you go" move, the court said the ruling only applied to those 4 students.  Meaning every student would have to sue individually to be able to return to better schools.

    Normandy needs some good pro bono attorneys stat!

  •  State Board had no options (0+ / 0-)

    Mark acts like the State Board had other options. According to state law, the Board could break up the district, attach it or install a Special Administrative Board when a district is failing. They tried the Special Administrative Board and that did nothing to help. Attaching Wellston to Normandy helped Normandy's finances and did not affect their accreditation. Normandy was unaccredited with or without the Wellston student scores.

    The Board then tried to help stabilize Normandy's finances by giving it a new accreditation status. The Board wanted to keep allowing students to transfer but at a lower tuition rate. School districts refused to allow the kids to transfer. A court ruling is now forcing those districts to take the kids. That also means Normandy will have to pay the higher tuition rate. Normandy will now be bankrupt in less than 6 months.


    •  State board had infinite options (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Debby, cotterperson, Pluto

      The board has maintained all along that they have the option to apply or not apply accreditation policies as they see fit. So any pretense that they had to act at any given moment, or in any fixed way, is just that: pretense.

      Even if the board was going to limit itself to redrawing the boundaries of school districts (which is far from all they can do) why not merge Wellston with a University City, another neighboring district whose poverty rate was much lower and whose facilities were much better? In merging Wellston and Normandy, the board forced together, not just two of the lowest performing districts in the state, but the poorest (by poverty rate) and third poorest districts.  They did so with many assurances to residents that the funding for the new district was "stable" when it was anything but.

      Is the transfer policy a huge drain on a district under state control? Absolutely.  But the point of that policy at its creation was to reassure people that, if the state declared a district a failure, students then in school would have options, not be held hostage for an unknown period.  Instead the state both passed the laws enacting the transfer policy, then walked Normandy step by step to the point where that policy came into effect, then sought a loophole so that they could both have their control and avoid the cost.

      •  Read the law (0+ / 0-)

        The law has specific time limits on how long a district can remain unaccredited and the options under the law are set. The Board just got flexibility on August 28, 2013 to try to improve a district once unaccredited (3 years after Wellston closed).

        The State Board has an accreditation system for a reason. 97% of districts are meeting the standards completely.

        The Board DOES NOT have the power to redraw school district lines. They can attach a school district once it is insolvent, but that's it.

        Normandy High School is located in Wellston. It was the best option of a lot of bad options. Why didn't Normandy increase its performance in the 3 years after that happened? You seem to think poverty = failure for education. It does not. Jennings has the same population and is scoring in the fully accredited range.  

        You are rewriting history now. The law was in litigation until the summer of 2013. Normandy was unaccredited Jan. 1, 2013. The system was never designed to be punitive for school districts or to bankrupt them with the unaccredited classification. Unaccredited was supposed to mean all hands on deck improvement and support needed now.

        The State Board and the Dept. have said over and over again that the law is flawed. It's not just Normandy going bankrupt. Riverview will go bankrupt, too.

        You also forget that 3 out of 4 students chose to remain in the school district bleeding money. They had no money for curriculum this school year. The community BEGGED the state to keep their district open and improve it. The State Board listened to the community in trying to step in and improve it.

        •  You make it sound as if the state... (0+ / 0-)

          had no choice, but that's not true.

          Wellston's merger into Normandy and pulling Normandy's provisional accreditation, were both votes of the board, not execution of a hard and fast rule.  Certainly both residents and supervisors of Normandy were surprised by the decision--including the Normandy superintendent, who was surprised by the original decision, and surprised again because he assumed that taking in Wellston meant that the state was going to provide both time and funding to address the problem. When it didn't, he resigned.  While the law certainly was last updated in 2013, the board demonstrated again and again (St. Louis schools being an example) that they had great leeway in how they applied their tools prior to that date.

          While you're right that the residents of Normandy begged the the schools to remain open, and have been very supportive of the district, the primary source of pressure for the state to take over Normandy didn't come from inside the district. It came from state legislators who represented the districts receiving transfer students (one of whom has already blamed Normandy students for a drop in grades at one of the receiving districts, though the other district taking in a large number of Normandy students held steady).

          And I certainly do take Jennings as an example of where Normandy should be financially -- and where it likely would have been had the "all hands on deck" not included "now catch this anchor," note that the academic difference between Jennings and Normandy is not as great as the MO scores suggest.  Where's the difference? Reading scores in the rest of Normandy -- 23% on grade level. Reading scores in what was Wellston -- 7% on grade level.  

          The state took a deeply troubled district without the resources to dig out, and tossed in on a district that was floundering, but which might have survived without this additional burden.

          •  Pretty Unlikely (0+ / 0-)

            Either would have survived.  Wellston was falling apart on several levels including problems with leadership and financial issues.  Normandy has faced, much like Ferguson, a pretty dramatic and rapid change in socioeconomic status of th students.  Both were likely to fall out of full accreditation.  

          •  Jennings (0+ / 0-)

            Does have a better administration, but part of the difference in the accreditation matrix has more to do with where they started in terms of scores than in absolute level.  Jennings is in tough shape academically.  It has mastered the parts of the matrix that aren't as focused on test scores and that's really the difference--meaning largely you are correct here.

        •  Wrong (0+ / 0-)

          Jennings is provisionally accredited.  

          You can argue it is something other than poverty, I guess.  It ignore the literature of student achievement, but you can try.

  •  the real reason why the rating dropped so quickly (6+ / 0-)

    MO legislature in their infinite wisdom passed a law that when a school district is unaccredited then the students can transfer to any district in the same or neighboring counties and the home district must pay tuition to the transfer district.  The district must also designate one district which it will provide transportation to for students who wish to transfer.  

    In the summer of 2013 after a long court battle of the law, this policy went into effect for Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts in St Louis County.  The St Louis City schools, which had been unaccredited miraculously received provisional accreditation just before the final ruling.  So Normandy students were allowed to transfer to Francis Howell in St. Charles county with busing or apply to any other district in St Louis County for transfer.  A process for these applications was rapidly established and to handle this new situation that was somewhat complicated and resulted in only the most motivated students/families finding spots.  

    The result was that students were riding buses for more than 30 minutes each way or parents were driving their kids all over the county to find better schools than in Normandy.  Thus the best and most motivated students left, meanwhile the district was bleeding money for tuition and busing.  Leading to layoffs of teachers and falling test scores.  

    Now there has been a take over of the district with new board and provisional accreditation.  It is a huge mess resulting from a law that wasn't well thought through and really hurt the vast majority of the students in a failing district.  

    Here is a summary of just part of the issues:

    •  School ratings are all crap, worthless (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs, Cassandra Waites

      I don't trust any of them, because they all are handed down by the overall State government.  And I've stopped trusting State governments.

      When all that power over the education of the entire state is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals, massive corruption always results.  Why is a guy who runs amusement parks running the State Dept. of Education??  What the hell does he know about running schools?
      The answer is he doesn't, and the State doesn't want him running schools well.  His job is to transfer as much money as possible from the poor to the rich.  That's it.

      Every school ranking, every accreditation, every test score is used for that one purpose.  To shut down schools that are suddenly "failing", and transfer all the money they can to rich communities and private schools.

      All of it is a giant scam.  And I'll go so far as to say that the Normandy school district would be better off if the State of MO had absolutely no control over it, and no discretion over its funding.

      The longer we let school rankings and test score scams continue, the worse this will get.

      •  Verbal (written) tests (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Have intrinsic bias toward verbal learners, and are provably biased toward Caucasian students. White taxpayers love them because their kids traditionally come out on top. Any test of logical thinking or other kinds of intelligences would come out differently--but the test makers claim they are too hard/expensive to validate.

        If you like the results, you don't change the process.

  •  Shameful (5+ / 0-)

    My daddy has to be spinning in his grave--he graduated proudly from Normandy High School with the class of 1932.  How far things fall when you turn Republicans loose on them...

    "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

    by lunachickie on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 08:41:04 AM PDT

  •  Here' the Issue (3+ / 0-)
    At that time, people also asked what the financial effect may be on Wellston and Normandy families; officials said those details were not yet worked out. ...
    Every person who was part of this decision making process should lose their job, no exceptions.

    "Things are not as they appear to be, nor are they otherwise." - Buddha

    by US Blues on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 09:30:20 AM PDT

  •  I would consider these results clear PROOF .... (3+ / 0-)

    ... of a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution.

    It's about time the teachers and parents of America take this shit to the Supreme Court for this very reason.

    You may not be able to legislate results, but you can damn well legislate equal funding and staffing, quality of facilities, etc.

    If the Children of America can't be assured an equal quality public education, then what the hell does equal protection even mean?

  •  Why is America so ignorant? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs, cotterperson

    Every time this is pointed out I just role my eyes. I know I am preaching to the choir here but I'll address the conservatives. You are causing poverty and crime with the way you are funding schools. In Canada, a BETTER country than your own (for a stupendous number of reasons), we fund schools based on a dollar amount per student. Irregardless of where the school is located. If you run poorly funded schools in poor areas, you will have poor performance, drop outs, and other negative social outcomes. It is immoral not to fund schools equally. If a Dem runs on equal funding of schools, is that a losing position? Really? I assume it does not poll well because you never hear anyone talk about it.

    •  I don't want equal per-student funding. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ohiolibrarian, Cassandra Waites

      Equal per-student funding would give the kid from a well-to-do household, with all the benefits that entails (like college-educated parents, money for extracurriculars, etc.) the same amount as a kid from a low-income household with many more obstacles to academic success.

      No, what I think we need in the US is tremendously unequal, redistributive per-student funding. Children from low-income households should get substantially more per-student funding than children from well-to-do households, to make up for the tremendous educational advantage that the high-income kids start out with.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:50:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  YEs---^^^^ EXACTLY ^^^^^^ (0+ / 0-)

        Yes--we are not starting from the came place Canada started from-with the vision that ALL kids should have the SAME good schools and the same goals in life.  

        I wish we WERE--but we are not.

        We have 400 years of BAD education policy to overcome--made dramatically WORSE recently.  

        I know LOTS of older Americans who graduated from what we would consider "Poor areas"  today--and they were poor THEN too--and yet--they got GOOD educations.  Sound basic education--that could be used to take them places like college or work IF they wanted it to.  

        Not all schools were like this but I suspect that the majority WERE.

        Unless you talk about the South.  And certain "Inner City"  areas.  Read::: black areas.

        Which today is STILL driving the poor educations of these areas.  

        Could it be that these "Leaders"  might--WANT these schools to fail?  To--prove--something?  

        Somehow we fail everybody when we fail these certain groups or areas.  It's not right it's not fair and it certainly SHOULD NOT BE LEGAL.

  •  The NYT just did an interesting piece (0+ / 0-)

    …related to all of this:

    Schools in Ferguson Area Prepare for an Emotional Opening Day

    The school year in Ferguson was scheduled to begin on Aug. 14, but the opening was delayed because of the unrest that followed the killing of Michael Brown five days earlier. Public schools will open on Monday, and teachers and administrators in the Ferguson-Florissant School District are eager to establish some sense of normalcy.

    At University City High School, in a nearby district that opened on schedule, April Pezzolla, a sociology and government teacher, said she had invited students to conduct a free-ranging discussion on the first day of school this month. “They were able to deconstruct the issues in terms of looking at things like poverty, education, the militarization of the police department and the perception around the country and the world that St. Louis was in turmoil,” she said.

    By contrast, a district across the state line in Illinois was reported to have asked teachers to “change the subject” if the events in Ferguson came up in class. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the principal of Edwardsville High School in Illinois had sent a memo to the staff saying that discussions of the protests “have caused students and parents to lash out, which is not healthy.” A spokeswoman for the school referred questions to the school district. Ed Hightower, the superintendent, did not return a call seeking comment.


    In Ferguson itself, educators expect to talk extensively with the district’s 11,000 students about the turmoil in their town. Many of their students live in the apartment complex that was home to Mr. Brown; Mr. Lawson, the social studies teacher, said some of them probably had known him personally.

    On Thursday, all 2,000 district staff members, including teachers, administrators, office staff members, security personnel and bus drivers, attended a training session on how to identify signs of stress in children. Counselors from the University of Missouri and local nonprofit groups came to offer suggestions on how to deal with students who were withdrawn and those who might act out.

    “We know that many of the kids are going to come to school with shirts that say ‘Hands Up’ and we might hear that in the hallways,” Mr. Lawson said, referring to a chant used by many protesters. “We don’t think that this is something that we should just kind of avoid, but rather this is something that needs to be discussed.”
    •  University City is the area right around (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Washington University. I don't know what it's like these days, but I lived there from age 1 to 4, and then again when I was in college. It's always had a strong liberal element. (My parents were certainly very liberal!).
      When the St. Louis Post Dispatch ran the statistics on percentage of population vs percentage of police who were African American, University City was the only community (IIRC) where the percentages were about the same -- about 40% for both.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:36:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The solution is more tax cuts (0+ / 0-)

    No matter what the problem is, the solutions is always more tax cuts.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 11:42:15 AM PDT

  •  African American kids are going to substandard (0+ / 0-)

    schools like this all over the country.  That's why I think reparations should consist of making all schools that are 50% or more African American palaces of education. The federal govt. would initiate a program that would transform these schools to the level of elite private academies, like Deerfield or Philips Exeter, then give every kid who graduates a full scholarship to the university of their choice. Sounds like a fantasy, but I think it could be done.

  •  Ratings again! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MHB, Cassandra Waites

    Students in a failing school know that they're in a failing school. They're assured that they're failures being taught by failures who will be failures. What, exactly, does anyone think this will do for the students or school?

    1. The ratings are based on constant improvement.
    2. Schools, of course, cannot choose their students, and they cannot remove students.
    3. Schools do not start with the same resources.
    4. Resources, in fact, go to the "winners" -- the schools with the "best grades." That's supposed to be an incentive.
    5. "Time to try something new" is idiocy in service of malice, at best. Either the people who say this sort of thing are despairing and trying to move their lips, or they're trying to say, "We want it to go bankrupt so that charter schools get voted in by these dam Democrats."

    "Race to the Top" is a reshuffling of the problems inherent in "NCLB": it again takes the position of starving schools for resources and offering up a Glenngary Glenn Ross mindset. The best result we can expect is a cheating scandal where administrators fill out the tests for the students. Isn't that right, Ms. Rhee?

    "for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,/ Committed in the horrid lust of war,/ He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,/ Shall find it in his grave and in his seed." -- Webster, "The White Devil," IV i 8-12.

    by The Geogre on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:12:12 PM PDT

    •  actually, sadly, some schools are able to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MHB, The Geogre, Cassandra Waites

      remove students. Schools are known to find reasons to expel students expected to do badly on tests.
      And I remember seeing a discussion on NYC charter schools with pro and anti-charter school people. When the charter school person was talking up how great their students do, the anti-charter school person talked about the extremely high expulsion rate in the charter schools (much much higher than the public schools). The charter school person's response was that they were "working on that."
      Here's a piece on this expulsion situation in Chicago:

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:42:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites, Tamar

        The Rod Paige "Houston Miracle" upon which NCLB was a miracle of expulsions and reclassifying students as special education. "60 Minutes" arrived to the story a bit late, but they showed Paige's "zero dropout" rate had been achieved by expulsions and reclassifications. The New York Times in 2003 sniffed out the weird data in the Houston "miracle" test scores.

        Test scores in danger? 1. Expel the 'poor performing' students. 2. Call the low scoring students 'special education' so that their scores are segregated. => WIN! Design a program for all of America!

        "for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,/ Committed in the horrid lust of war,/ He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,/ Shall find it in his grave and in his seed." -- Webster, "The White Devil," IV i 8-12.

        by The Geogre on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 05:41:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Urban Legend has it in NY that--- (0+ / 0-)

          Here in NY "Urban Legend"  has it that the schools DO encourage "Those kids"  to DROP OUT before some mythical point in HS so the schools "Numbers"  and "Ratings"  are NOT affected by these kids.

          Just like--on a smaller scale--they try and keep the school open in severe weather or keep your sick kid there til after 11 AM so they get FULL CREDIT for that day from the State!

          That said--I know that they FIGHT having kids go to the BOCES (Vo-Tec)  schools because---I gather it "Looks bad"  to have "Those sort"  of students on your books.  I don't exactly know WHY tho.  WE were fought with over having our daughter--who was an IEP kid--in the BOCES program--and they even tried to FORCE her out of it and tried to DIS-CREDIT the program and her PASSING GRADES in it--to prevent her from graduating!   This meant she was suddenly told that her hard work and passing grades were NO GOOD and she was going to have to REPEAT her Senior Year--Um----no!  Sorry!  

          I fought right back and got the State to intercede as it was THEIR standards that the local District tried to compromise.  

          Irony?  That year my daughter was the HIGHEST DOLLAR RECIPIENT of Scholarship money---which the school announcer decided had come from--sitting down???---The NRA.  

          Well it==HAD.  Just--not the SAME NRA.

          National Restaurant Association

          But yeah---schools need to be kept in check just like any OTHER power base.  And should not be allowed to abuse that power.  

          An earlier "Regime"  here took a different tack and tried to get a LOT of kids forced into BOCES---including one kid who had NO interest in anything of the sort.  That kid ended up going on to college;  fighting off a life threatening illness;  graduating Summa;  getting a Fulbright Scholarship and then his PhD--and now teaches as a full professor.  

          Ya just never know.  

  •  Xtian RedState Has Generously Pondered Ferguson (0+ / 0-)

    And lately it seems like Erik Erickson has gotten religion so they have tried to be totally not racist about Ferguson.

    That still leaves plenty of room for comments to the effect that Dems are "statists" and killer cops are "statists," so Dems deserve to be killed.  

    Presumably anyone that wants decent public schools is also a "statist" and deserves to die, but I'm not clear on that point because in all their hand-wringing about the Negro problem, they never mentioned the school system.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 07:40:06 PM PDT

  •  Moral of the story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    GET THE FACTS, and become INVOLVED in your community. Voting en mass during a Presidential year is fine, but we can see, the day to day power lies in the hands of your LOCAL officials. School boards, mayors, councilmen/women. They have more power over you than most people realize. Unfortunately for the people of the Normandy district that don't vote and thus get people in power that screw them over and over again. From brutal racist police to uncaring corrupt school boards. The ultimate power in this country STILL lies with the people-we just have to start USING IT.

  •  Slave quarters ????? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Supported by tax cuts, of course.

    "The illiteracy of our children are appalling." #43

    by waterstreet2008 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 08:02:59 PM PDT

  •  At Least in Ed Policy Clinton will Improve Obama (0+ / 0-)

    So the end of bullshit like Race To The Top will end is something to look forward to.

  •  Normandy used to be an excellent school district. (0+ / 0-)

    This was, of course, decades ago. I graduated from Ritenour Sr High School and Normandy was our rival in all things athletic. (Wellston was always an awful place to live and attend school.) I left St Louis in the mid-1960s and didn't keep track of what was happening in either education or politics but it is just tragic that kids and their families have been put into such a miserable situation.

    ""How long does getting thin take?" Pooh asked anxiously." -- A. A. Milne

    by pittie70 on Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 09:44:16 PM PDT

  •  You folks do realize that, before the Civil War, (0+ / 0-)

    in most parts of the South, it was a felony offense to teach colored people to read and write, or to allow them to learn.

    Today's Teabaghead/Republicans, in their passionate love for reaction, regression, and racist return to the "good old days" - that never were in the first place, of course - see the ultimate destruction of the very principle of Public Education as one of their basic goals.

    Why else the emphasis on "Charter Schools"?    Why else the diversion of tax dollars to private sources?  Why else the strong drive to bust Teacher Unions?  Why else the constant blather and bloviation about how the basic fundamentals of their "religions" are blind obedience to whatever the local illiterate Jackass-in-the-Pulpit brays in the barn on Sunday mornings?

    Answers, anyone?

  •  Whoever said ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... the GOP had to obey the law.

  •  Michael Brown's school (0+ / 0-)

    Yes it's a shame that Michael Brown's school Normandy High is so bad that it scored a 7 down from 11 last year under a Republican led school system. Affluent schools scored 95 - 97 while Brown's school dropped from a below failing 11 to an embarrassing 7. The remedy for this is simple, first fire the school board as there's no union involved. Next go into the school and interview the teachers and students. If teachers are the reason and there's a teachers union, the union will be more than happy to remove teachers with an abysmal teaching record and if it's a problem with resources and student participation a plan could be made and executed to fix the problem. Bottom line is there's no excuse to allow a failure of this size to continue as the only preparation for the students would be for their failure. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING GUNNED DOWN BY A POLICE OFFICER.

  •  I think we're getting closer... (0+ / 0-)

    to a root cause, and I'm grateful to Daily Kos and its wonderful contributors for helping us get there.

  •  Millionaires overtaking our schools ... (0+ / 0-)

    Now I have another reason why I should not go to Branson.

  •  Couldn't the residents--- (0+ / 0-)

    Couldn't the resident place the school "tax"  into escrow accounts  until the mess gets CLEAN UP?  

    Would this be an act of Civil Disobedience?  

    Wouldn't THAT be a kick in the head to the State?

  •  Accreditation (0+ / 0-)

    It is only fair (to everybody) to note that accreditation (so called) studies have been considered by most anybody who has done any research at all to be the most invalid of all studies in education.  If somebody says to you that so and so University or school was rated at the very top of the accreditation scale when compared to any other school, it is probably wise to just giggle.  

  •  Darker skinned vs lighter skinned (0+ / 0-)

    For those who found that comment offensive, I believe it was intended as sarcasm. The line comes from a Saturday Night Live skit starring Garrett Morris in which a talk show host reveals that, although there is nothing to the notion that whites are smarter than blacks, it is true that light-skinned blacks are smarter than dark-skinned blacks. The notion could certainly be considered offensive, however I believe the absurdity of the concept is designed to show the absurdity of the idea that whites are smarter than blacks.

  •  Deny poorer schools the funds to survive (0+ / 0-)

    and flourish while making sure businesses have all the perks, subsidies and payola so that communities can thrive with minimum wage jobs, creating the need for government welfare that republicans are slashing.

    Ah, republicanism in action – screw the poor, reward the rich.

  •  Hmm - Chicken or the Egg ??? (0+ / 0-)

    We could go back-and-forth on this one, but one has to ask where the cause rests - and why. Fact is, we can lay blame any place we wish ... as we normally do ... but most so called BAD SCHOOLS are that way not because the faculty and administration want them that way, but rather because the - attitudes that attend - the schools are just that.

    So - was Michael Brown's school bad because he was a part of what made it so?  Oh - to the "good" people of Ferguson ... be sure to vote - maybe you will get to take over the entire city. If so - look at the record of such communities and consider "white flight" to be a result.

  •  And the naive believe the opportunities are equ... (0+ / 0-)

    And the naive believe the opportunities are equal.

    Ignorance, denial and elitism trump obfuscation and treachery.

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