Standards and regulations shift with every new administration. What allowed a school to prosper under the No Child Left Behind Act could be responsible for a school’s failure under the Every Child Succeeds program. New York City transfer high schools are an example of such a situation.
Transfer high schools are small community schools that serve students who are behind in their studies and who otherwise would fail to graduate. Through one-on-one assistance and smaller classes students who may have taken seven or more years to graduate are able to do so in less time. The problem is that despite higher overall graduation rates these schools are graduating students in time-frames that don’t meet state and federal standards. Without meeting these standards, transfer schools could close.
School administrators are working with the New York State Board of Regents and legislators to establish special circumstances for these schools. Current regulations state that schools must have a six year graduation rate of 67 percent to continue operations without penalty. Transfer school teachers and administrators worry that strict adherence to regulations will negatively impact their schools’ mission. Helen Spadacinni, a principal in the Bronx, told the New York Times that in order for schools to maintain compliance they might be forced to turn away students who need more than six years to graduate. But such a situation undermines the very reason behind transfer schools. According to Spadacinni, ” It may become a question of, in doing that for every student, do we risk closing down and not being able to serve any student?”
A solution to the problem lies in the hands of the New York State Board of Regents and the State Department of Education. Developing customized accountability regulations for schools that fall under the transfer category would allow continued operations.