Buried a few of the hundreds of pages of federal K-12 training law is the “risky school choice option,” a provision that permits college students who have been victims of a violent incident at faculty, or who attended a “persistently dangerous” school, to transfer to some other public school of their district, consisting of charters.
Such coverage could seem to tick a lot of appealing bins for participants of Congress, from a guide for school choice and discern empowerment to a new safety provision in a country grappling with devastating faculty shootings.
But in its nearly two decades on the books, first as a part of No Child Left Behind and continued under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, it’s hardly been used: Just 8 states and Puerto Rico have ever diagnosed any schools as “persistently dangerous,” and half of these recognized fewer than 10 schools, in step with facts compiled by way of The 74. Just a handful of schools — perhaps as few as two — are nonetheless taken into consideration dangerous.
The provision emerged from near-obscurity in late 2018, while the Education Department issued a note inside the Federal Register that it’s looking for to have a look at how states have implemented this system.
Looking back, the advent, staying electricity and ultimately confined the impact of the hazardous college choice option may additionally have more to do with the sausage-making of Washington politics than any high-minded ideals or sensible policies.
The author of the provision, former representative Bob Schaffer, a Republican from Colorado, is candid in the way best someone who’s not in office may be.
“The motivation was a preference. We couldn’t get the choice for preference’s sake. We couldn’t get choice for terrible kids,” Schaffer advised The 74. “But if the school is violent or risky … I could get a majority vote for that.”
Democrats who supported public college choice didn’t suppose the supply changed into specially properly applicable for No Child Left Behind, a bill greater focused on improving educational conditions for students than on making faculties safe, stated Charlie Barone, who at the time worked for Rep. George Miller, the training committee’s pinnacle Democrat.
“We didn’t suppose it was mainly nicely concept out, nor then again changed into it clean to oppose,” stated Barone, now chief policy officer at Democrats for Education Reform.
The provision changed into first protected in 1999 try to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. That bill by no means have become regulation, however, the push was renewed in 2001 throughout negotiations for what have become No Child Left Behind.