The Transfer Law: Another Disappointment
Cameral Cotton’s children were deeply saddened when they learned they would not return to Francis Howell School District. Cameral’s three children transferred from Normandy School District after the state’s transfer law was upheld last summer.
Through a series of legal maneuvers, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the State Board of Education attempted to prevent students, like Cotton’s children, from transferring from Normandy Schools Collaborative.
First, Normandy was unaccredited, then nonaccredited, and most recently, “accredited as a state oversight district.” However, the transfer law, which states that a student living in an unaccredited district can transfer to an accredited district, prevailed Friday when Judge Michael Burton ruled that Ritenour, Francis Howell, and Pattonville School Districts would have to accept transfer students.
Cotton rejoiced when she saw the news over the weekend, only to learn from Francis Howell School District that the decision extended to just the children named in the lawsuit. Only one Normandy student will be returning to Francis Howell. Because Cameral Cotton did not participate in the lawsuit, her children will remain at Normandy.
Cotton’s daughter, Mar’Kita, dreams of becoming a history teacher for Teach for America. Her son, Mark, just wants to get into college. Both of these children blossomed at Francis Howell, and yet, they must remain in a school that, they believe, failed them.
If the transfer law was upheld for a few students, then it should be upheld for all students. Cameral Cotton should not have to wait for another class-action lawsuit just so her children can attend an accredited school. Burton’s decision may just apply to a few students, but the logic behind his decision applies to all Normandy students.