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Reconstitution: Is It Worth The Risk?

869 words - 4 pages

Every year schools around the nation are expected to meet certain guidelines and progress measures; failure to do so classifies them as academically unacceptable. Academically unacceptable schools across the United States are all at risk of being reconstituted, a dire, “worst case scenario”, “just-in-case” plan. Reconstitution: the act of reconstructing the academic and extracurricular aspects of a school that fails to meet the yearly academic progress mandated by the state, replacing a large portion of the school staff with new teachers that can deliver a better academic output than the previous year’s teachers...or so they say.
Reconstitution, in most cases, is fueled by a school’s inability to follow the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act. The bottom 1% are considered low-performing schools, and must undergo the reconstitution process. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find any positive feedback and information concerning reconstitution. Past assistant secretary of education Diane Ravitch, once an advocate of the No Child Left Behind Act, is now against the policy as a whole. She believes that this policy puts education on the wrong track and that it will not improve public education due to its emphasis on test scores, which leads to cheating and dishonesty. She says that the program has also turned schools into an “Educational Marketplace” because schools are competing with each other to receive better resources. Overall the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as reconstitution, seem to pit schools, faculties and students against each other, leaving plenty of children behind in their wake. Washington Post author Emma Brown wrote that, “ While test scores can be a crude measure of progress, school and city leaders use them as a key metric in judging schools,” questioning the validity of test scores.
There is a limited amount of hard evidence available to the public on real test score improvement before and after reconstitution. However, Washington Post article “With Reconstitution, D.C officials hope for schools turnaround”, reveals that reconstitution techniques have failed to improve test scores in Cardozo, and suggest that replacing staff is not necessarily a successful route. The article states that out of 18 reconstituted schools in D.C, 10 of those schools didn’t improve much at all; in some cases, the schools worsened. A teacher from Cardoza, a reconstituted school in Washington, addressed the fact that the technique of replacing most of the staff was ineffective because of the more severe, outside of teacher-control, student responsibilities; if a student acts out,...

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