Segregation or Better Education?
Some parents are thinking it’s a form of segregation. But others think using the term “segregation” is taking a school policy too far.
A LaVergne, Tennessee school policy, that has been in practice for the past two years, is part of a Tennessee pilot program that includes an academic intervention to help students who may be struggling in a subject.
Many school districts in Tennessee have implemented the program at different times of the school day, but LaVergne High School splits the lunch period. This means that for the first half of the lunch period, the students who may be struggling with a class go to the auditorium for a learning lab to get some extra help, then go to their lunch.
But parents of students who are in this program, feel that it separates students from their friends, points out the students who may need some extra help and forces the students to sit and eat in a separate location. Parents are calling this a type of segregation based on academic standing saying:
You have your special needs kids and the kids getting the good grades on one side, and the kids getting below an 80 on the other side. It’s also cutting their lunch down.
The Rutherford County School District reminds parents that this procedure has been happening at LaVergne High School for two years…called ESPN – Enrichment, Study Hall, Peer Tutoring, Needs Remediation. The program is part of the Tennessee Department of Education’s program RTI Squared: Response to Instruction and Intervention Initiative. A program which will be in all Tennessee high schools by July 2014.
Parents may think its segregation, but students at LaVergne High School in the program are thinking differently. Many say they wish they could be sitting in lunch with their friends, but it’s also a good thing to get the extra help.
School officials also point out that this program has been a success. Two years ago, the graduation rate at La Vergne High School was 77%, but now it’s closer to 90%.