Take this month’s report on the not-so-good numbers of the Turning Around N.C.’s Lowest Achieving Schools program, or TALAS, as a “disappointment,” says one of the report’s co-authors, Duke University Professor of Public Policy Helen Ladd.
Take it as an indictment of how the “low-performing” designation can impact a school’s ability to retain teachers and affluent families. Take it as evidence that the state’s low-income families need more support.
But don’t take the report as support for the launch of achievement school districts in North Carolina, says Ladd.
“There are some people in the state who aren’t happy with my paper,” Ladd says. “But I’m not a fan of achievement school districts.”
Ladd’s report, released this month by a DC-based education research center, arrives as lawmakers are considering a method called achievement school districts which would pull chronically low-performing schools into one district, regardless of geography, piloted by charter operators rather than local school boards.
Members of the legislature’s Select Committee on Achievement School Districts are expected to consider a new draft of that legislation Wednesday.
Supporters say it could break the cycle of chronically struggling schools. But opponents point out the GOP-championed reform has delivered poor results in states like Tennessee, on top of similarly middling numbers in Louisiana and Michigan.