Five years ago, Tennessee was flush with cash from its Race to the Top grant, and it created a state takeover plan called the “Achievement School District.” The idea was to identify the schools with the lowest test scores and give them to private companies to manage. The promise was explicit: within five years, the lowest-performing schools would join the ranks of the highest-performing schools thanks to the magic of privatization. In the five years since, two leaders have departed, and the schools that were privatized remain among the lowest performing in the state.

North Carolina had to copy this model–after all, it was recommended by ALEC, the corporate bill mill. They had to copy it even after hearing testimony from a Vanderbilt researcher who found no evidence that the ASD was on track to meet its goal.

Given the failure of the Tennessee ASD, North Carolina continued to pursue the idea but renamed it: the North Carolina Ipportunity School District. Same plan, new name. Six schools across the state are on the state’s list for ending local control.

Educators in Durham are fighting back. Two Durham schools are targeted for takeover, and the Durham community says NO.

The elected school board says it will fight the state takeover.

The legislature hasn’t considered the impact of their budget cuts or their attacks on the teaching profession or the decline of teacher salaries as causes of poor performance. And of course they have not given a thought to poverty and segregation.

For some inexplicable reason, Republicans have become the enemies of local control. They think that only the state can fix schools, despite the abysmal results of the Tennessee ASD.

Recently NC elected a young TFA alum to be its state superintendent. He taught for two years but there’s no reason to believe he knows how to turn around schools, never having done it.

Nothing fails like copying failure.