The Only “Reform” For This Reform Is Eliminating It – About SB 522 And The ISD

It appears that Rep. Rob Bryan will do anything to save face when it comes to the failed reform that he championed three years ago called the Innovative School District.

He brought this state a version of an already failed reform, became part of the outfit that won the contract for the ISD, and is now back in the NCGA trying to “save” it by reforming it.

Rob Bryan’s history with the ISD is explained in this post – “Rob Bryan Is Back: The Man Who Brought NC The ISD Is Representing Oregon In The NCGA.”

With Senate Bill 522, ISD champions are trying to “reform” this failed educational reform in a session of the NCGA that has remained open at the end of July because of a refusal by NCGA powers to vote on a veto-override. That veto is well over 100 days old.


Notice that Sen. Jerry Tillman introduced the bill.

In the past he has made claims about the ISD and its inevitable “success” that obviously have not come true.

From June of 2016 :

With just days remaining in the N.C. General Assembly’s short session, leaders on the Senate Education Committee have given their approval to achievement school districts, a GOP-backed model of school reform that may clear for-profit charter takeovers of low-performing schools.

Committee Chair Jerry Tillman, a Republican who supports the measure, declared the “ayes” to have won the vote Friday, although to some listeners, the voice vote appeared to be evenly split or favoring the opposition.

House Bill 1080, the long-gestating work of Rep. Rob Bryan, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, will allow state leaders to create a pilot program pulling five chronically low-performing schools into one statewide district. From there, the state could opt to hand over control of the schools, including hiring and firing powers, to for-profit charter operators.


“They will make great growth,” declared Tillman. “That’s a fact.”

Also from June of 2016:

Other critics pointed out a similar system in Tennessee had not produced better academic results. But Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, said the Tennessee plan tried to do too much, too quickly.

“These models have worked and will work if you don’t go too big,” Tillman said. “These schools will do a great job for these kids. It’s something we need to try.”

It’s October of 2019.

But it is what Rep. Bryan said today in his defense of SB522 that really sums up what the ISD has done in its existence.

From the Carolina Journal:

Recently appointed Sen. Rob Bryan, R-Mecklenburg, said while results are so far flat for Southside Ashpole, improvements are being seen at other low performing schools. 

“Part of the ISD program is to put pressure on the rest of the qualifying schools to improve student performance,” Bryan said. 

Did he just say that other schools are improving because they should fear being even worse when they are taken over by the ISD?

That’s what I heard.

The only “reform” for this reform is eliminating it.

And for Bryan to be defeated in two straight elections.