A federal law meant to help children flee unsafe public schools this fall will apply to students in only six states and 52 of the nation’s 85,000 schools, a USA TODAY/Gannett News Service survey found.
Under President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, students in “persistently dangerous” schools are entitled to transfers to a safer school. But the law lets states define what “persistently dangerous” means, allowing them to craft a definition that exempts practically every school. Critics charge that few public schools will ever meet the definition.
The national survey of state education departments found that 44 states and the District of Columbia say they have no persistently dangerous schools. In six states, 52 schools made the list. Those states are Pennsylvania with 28, Nevada with eight, New Jersey with seven, Texas with six, New York with two and Oregon with one.