The Department of Education’s inspector general’s office has found fault with how Georgia has carried out the unsafe-school choice provision of the No Child Left Behind Act. In a June 7 audit report, the office notes that the three school districts included in the audit failed to report all criminal incidents to the state.
The audit did not find anything wrong with the Georgia state education department’s definition of “persistently dangerous schools” under the federal law. It requires all states to identify schools deemed “persistently dangerous,” based on a state definition, and to allow students in such schools to transfer to safer ones. The law also requires districts to allow students who are the victims of violent crime to transfer. Georgia determined that no school met its definition of “dangerous” in 2002-03 or 2003-04. But the audit says the Georgia department did not ensure that its policy was implemented at the local level.
In a response included in the final audit report, Georgia state schools Superintendent Kathy B. Cox said the state education department has acknowledged the need to provide technical assistance to districts to improve the validity and reliability of data they submit. She also said the state’s current unsafe-school choice policy does not explicitly require written notice to parents regarding their transfer rights, but the policy will be amended to address that issue.