Cincinnati educators tackling "revolving door'
CFT wants to cut student mobility

Monday, May 18, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Board of Education members should work harder to reduce student mobility, which holds down achievement, the president of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) said Sunday.

CFT members adopted a policy resolution last week urging the board and administrators to slow student transfers, President Tom Mooney said.

High mobility rates defeat district goals of keeping teachers and students together for longer than a year, which are central to efforts to raise achievement, Mr. Mooney said. In some low-income schools, more than 60 percent of students move each year, he said. Administrators often transfer a child with academic or discipline problems rather than correct the problem, he said.

"We have to start being professional and not expedient about kids moving and try to slow it down rather than making it a revolving door," he said.

The district already has a task force plotting ways to fight high mobility, absenteeism and truancy rates. CFT plans to present its recommendations to the task force.

The CFT says administrators should:

  • Bus neighborhood-school students back to their original schools for the year if they move, just as magnet-school students who move maintain bus service.

  • Tighten deadlines for magnet-school enrollment. Parents now can enroll children in magnet schools through summer; that deadline should be in winter, so staff and enrollment can stabilize.

  • Tout the benefits of continuity in one school.

Board members agreed they need to stem student mobility. But they questioned CFT's suggestions.

"Mobility is a significant problem," board member Harriet Russell said.

"However, I'm not willing to embrace the CFT's recommendation that would call for us to spend additional dollars on transportation." Board member Catherine Ingram agreed: "We need to make sure that our kids are getting the same quality education no matter what school they move to."

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