Does "No Child Left Behind" help to create community splits?

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

My community has become more and more divided over the past 10 years when it comes to the subject of education. The chasm recently deepened even more so with the implementation of the No Child Left Behind law. Until the law was voted into place there were several school choices in our area: a Catholic school of grades K through 8, A private Waldorf school with grades K through 8, and a public charter school with grades K through 8, the local public elementary school and a small Montessori strand within that public school. There is also an exclusive private boarding school for high school and the local public high school. However, once the law was implemented many parents became outraged.

One group of parents got organized and formed a charter Montessori school for their children who had attended the local private Montessori preschool and the Montessori strand within the public elementary school. They were extremely successful in obtaining funds and, with the help of some fairly affluent parents within that community, they were able to secure land, obtain modular buildings, get volunteer help from parents, find certified Montessori teachers and move the strand out from under the public school buildings and into their own brand new school. As wonderful and exciting as this has been for that community, it leaves some gaping holes in the mainstream public school. The problem is that now the public school is 95% Hispanic. The teachers in the public school are grappling with the issues of how to teach children at the proper grade level when some cannot speak English, others cannot read and some leave the country for months at a time to visit relatives in Mexico for extended holidays.

I don't believe that White Flight was the intention in our community. It is more an issue of a poorly managed super intendant's office and an extremely short sighted super intendant. It is a matter of parents being angered over the lack of foresight when it came to the No Child Left Behind law. It is the fact that many parents want what it best for their children's education and are willing to put in the time and money to ensure that will be the case for their kids. And, unfortunately, is it also the issue of those who have not falling further and further behind of those who do have.

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