Thursday, March 25, 2010

Turning the money--and the label--down

The community of Houlton, Maine has refused the federal turnaround money and the label for their school (in Maine, they're calling them "Tier 1" schools):

Superintendent Steve Fitzpatrick advised the school board to reject the money. He said that if the district accepted the federal money, the school would have to continue funding the new educational model after the grant dried up. He added that he was “proud” to be superintendent in the school district, saying that the high school is an accredited school that has a talented student body and staff. School officials pointed out on Monday evening that in this past year Houlton High scored 65th of 127 high schools in the state as measured by the Scholastic Aptitude Tests used by Maine as the high school assessment. They also pointed out that many schools that did worse than Houlton students did on the SATs were not labeled “persistently lowest achieving” schools. Officials also said that 70 to 80 percent of Houlton High graduates go on to pursue a postsecondary education.

Speaking on behalf of the high school staff, Joseph Fagnant, a music teacher at the school, said that the staff reacted with “disbelief, shock, and anger” upon hearing news of the ranking. He said the school was told a month ago that it was on track to making Adequate Yearly Progress, as defined under No Child Left Behind.“The next month, we are told we’re a failing school,” he said.

The label has hurt the staff, students and community, he added, before urging the school board to “say ‘No, thank you’ to the state and let them know we won’t accept the label of a failing school.”

Yes, folks, you can say no.


Jim Gonyea said...

You can say no, but you have to say no to the money. The Feds only have control as long as you take the money.

T-Traveler said...

hopefully school districts will start to think about the strings attached to federal money or foundation money