Turning Around “Low Performing Schools”
WHEREAS, the federal government has designated the bottom 5% of schools in each state as Turnaround Schools and set-aside funds through the school improvement Grant process to improve performance at these schools; and
WHEREAS, many of these schools serve large proportions of children of color and disadvantaged students for whom the NAACP advocates; and
WHEREAS, the secretary of education's rules for the program call on reformers to create "community-oriented schools" in at least one of the suggested turnaround models; and
WHEREAS, research and experience suggest that communities that are actively involved in their children's learning enjoy greater academic success; and
WHEREAS, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main federal law governing education for disadvantaged students, requires structures for parental involvement; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP has consistently advocated for quality education for all children, including but not limited to access to high quality teaching, equitable resources, fair discipline and a challenging curriculum that prepares children for careers and college; and committed itself in 2009 to "develop local advocacy and legal strategies to improve our schools…to ensure that the nation properly invests in the education of all public school students."
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms previous resolutions designed to ensure access to high quality teaching, equitable resources, fair discipline and a challenging curriculum; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NAACP education leaders will actively participate in the selection and implementation of methods to improve turnaround schools by devising structures such as coalitions of community stakeholders, which shall include members of the branch or unit education committee as well as a broad range of community allies and experts; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the unit's education committee chair shall regularly update the national education department in accordance with its guidance as to the composition and activities of these structures; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the coalitions, where possible, should be convened in conjunction with sympathetic school board members as formal and regular advisors for the board and should always participate at least twice annually in documented meetings with state and local public education officials; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that these coalitions or bodies should pay particular attention to whether turnaround plans impact the school district's de- segregation status, and proposals to close schools in communities of color, but may choose to expand their mission and function beyond these items to other educational matters of interest such as teacher distribution, discipline and resource equity.