What’s in a name?
That which we call an unaccredited school by any other name would perform as well. William Shakespeare spoke of roses, but his four-century-old logic applies to Normandy Schools Collaborative’s “nonaccredited” status. The Missouri State Board of Education’s decision to give Normandy a “nonaccredited status” allowed the Board to take control of operations. It essentially gave the district a do-over, but left many with questions concerning the legality of subsequent decisions:
- Can the Missouri State School Board set a tuition ceiling?
- Can receiving schools reject transfer students?
- Can Normandy prohibit new students from transferring?
These questions stem from the transfer law’s wording regarding unaccredited schools. The law refers to a “district not accredited”. According to the state board, Normandy’s new unclassified status of “nonaccredited” is somehow different than “unaccredited” (even though, non is Latin for not, non making this up). Because of the new classification, schools like Francis Howell decided not to allow transfer students to return. Using the same rationale, Normandy Schools Collaborative might not receive extra money from the 2015 state budget. The additional funding is earmarked for intensive reading instruction and pre-K programs, programs meant to help low-performing, unaccredited schools like Normandy.
Normandy has a history of low-performance—low-achievement, high drop-out rates, and low college readiness. If the goal of the state Board of Education is to give Normandy students access to high-performing, quality schools, calling the district by another name is not the answer.