Bill for achievement school districts moving forward

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – There’s new reaction to ripping control of a school out of the hands of the district and giving the power to a charter school operator.

It’s part of how elected leaders aim to improve under-performing schools.

A back-and-forth took place that started months ago when the idea of an achievement school district came to be. Now, it’s set to be a reality after lawmakers sent the bill to the Governor’s desk.

It means your child could be in the achievement district for elementary school, get acclimated, thrive and then switch to another district with different leadership for middle school.

Educators and parents say the concept just doesn’t make sense.

“It does not make sense to me. It is confusing,” said Latina Shelley, a public school parent, who’s talking about the bill that with Governor Pat McCrory’s signature, will be a law. “The parent should be allowed to choose what they think is best for their children as far as education.”

The bill would force charter school operators to take over five low-performing elementary schools. That means a school in your neighborhood district would no longer be a part of the public school system.

A charter organization run by a separate superintendent would be in charge.

“I think that’s going to be confusing for the student I really do because it’s probably going to be a different teaching style as well,” Shelley said.

“There’s so many unanswered questions,” Dr. Delilah Jackson, Washington County School superintendent, exclaimed.

Jackson wants to know who is going to be in charge of the facilities. Will current personnel in the school’s district be able to stay, or will they be unemployed?

“One could be in the East one could be in the West. If a parent needs to talk to someone about their child not being on the bus, or there’s an issue with a teacher, whose responsibility is that,” asked Jackson.

Lawmakers say the purpose of this bill is to help low-performing schools, so children will be ready for middle school and beyond.

Both Dr. Jackson and Shelley agreed that a better way is necessary.

“I’m a public school advocate and I’m going to fight for my kids,” Jackson said.

North Carolina isn’t the first state to propose an achievement school district. Other states have tried the system as well. A Vanderbilt University study questioned the effectiveness of the one in Tennessee.

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