North Carolina lawmakers may be likely to pursue legislation this year to install a pilot program for an achievement school district among the state’s lowest-performing schools.
But on Thursday, one of the nation’s leading researchers on the controversial reform method—which could turn over management of troubled schools to for-profit, charter operators—delivered data to a handful of lawmakers and a number of education policy advocates that delineated its somewhat middling results in the last three years in Tennessee.
As Gary Henry, a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University, told Policy Watch this week, the achievement school districts showed “little to no effect” on student performance in low-performing schools in Tennessee.
“So the ambitious goal of getting all the schools into the top 25 percent has not been attained,” said Henry.
Henry’s presentation came one day after the first meeting of the N.C. House’s Select Committee on Achievement School Districts, a Republican-steered committee that presented draft legislation that would install a similar system in at least five low-performing elementary schools in North Carolina as soon as the 2017-2018 academic year. However, Henry had not been asked to address that committee as of Tuesday.
While multiple members of that committee were in attendance Thursday, the select committee’s chairman and leading proponent in the legislature, Mecklenburg County Republican Rob Bryan, did not attend. His assistant did attend, and said Bryan was busy in another committee meeting.