Corbett: The Little District That Could

Christina MartinQuickPoint!

[audio:QuickPoint 9-9-09.mp3]

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Corbett’s K-12 public school is so effective that many parents drive from far and wide so their children can attend what is likely the best public school in Oregon. Responding to parents’ demand, Corbett’s superintendant opened a charter school within the public school so students can attend Corbett’s public school without braving the bureaucracy of the inter-district transfer system.

This angers Corbett’s neighboring districts. Why? Because some education funding follows each child to whichever public school he or she attends. Some superintendants fear that if enough students leave their home districts for Corbett, they will have to cut programs or employees.

Neighboring districts apparently are more concerned for district employees’ jobs than for their students’ education. Holding onto a student for the sake of maintaining a larger staff is fruitless. When a student transfers to Corbett, the cost of educating that student also shifts to Corbett. If the current trend is telling, Corbett will be hiring soon.

Corbett’s K-12 program is tiny compared to neighboring districts’, yet it arguably provides a better education for its students. So what is the problem? That local families get to choose a successful public school? Instead of fearing competition from Corbett, neighboring districts should invite Corbett’s superintendant to share his expertise in turning an underwhelming public school into one of the best in the nation.

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