It is a curious fact that there has never been a
successful,state takeover of a local school district. Correct me if
I am wrong. Maybe there is one somewhere but I don’t know of any.
Pennsylvania took control of Philadelphia in 2001, and Philadelphia
is near bankruptcy. New York took control of the Roosevelt school
district and increased its debt. New Jersey controls several of the
state’s lowest performing districts, some for decades, which have
remained troubled. State takeover, it may be said, has no track
record of success. That’s why I applaud the Virginia School Boards Association and
the Norfolk schools for suing the state to block
legislation intended to void local control. When schools are
floundering, they need help, and the state should provide it
without delay. But academic trouble should not be a rationale for
short-circuiting democracy. Message to states: Work with the people
in the community, not against them.