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Friday, July 18, 2014

Compelling Education Quote of the Week: Carrot or Stick?

"This law is working directly against us. The students who are going to help us get the high school out of academic distress are the kids who are probably going to try to leave, and then we'll never get out. If they
leave...that will make the challenge even greater for us," Dollarway Superintendent Bobby Acklin quoted July 16, 2014, in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Context: Mr. Acklin was responding to the dilemma faced by the 26 schools designated as "academic distress schools" in Arkansas. Schools receive the label when more than half of their students over a three-year period score below proficient on the state Benchmark and End-of-Course exams.

It points to the truly tough conundrum the state faces in dealing with such schools. As Mr. Acklin said, helping the students (they now have the option to transfer to other schools) has the potential of further harming the schools, despite schools' and districts' efforts to improve student performance.

Surely there's a better way to serve both the student and the school. Any ideas?

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