Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Obama Tabs Duncan to Deal with NCLB Mess?

There are reports out this morning that Chicago school chief Arne Duncan will be announced later today to be President-Elect Obama's Secretary of Education. No matter who gets the job, they will have to address the mess the so-called "No Child Left Behind Law" has created. For further proof read the following:

Some Missouri School Districts Receive State Awards Despite NCLB Sanctions.

The Southeast Missourian (12/15, Bavolek) reported, "Some school districts that received federal sanctions this year for not making enough progress are now receiving a state award for distinction in performance. That's because the state looks at a broader range of data, including ACT scores, college placement rates and availability of advanced courses, while the federal government focuses mainly on test scores, holding all subgroups of students accountable." Thus, some districts "that received criticism when Missouri Assessment Program results were released in August are now celebrating their state distinction. The state's education department doled out awards to 330 districts out of 523 this year."

Many Hawaii Schools Make Progress, But Fall Short Of AYP Standards.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin (12/15, Barone) reported that over the next six years, Hawaii AYP standards "will increase steadily until 2014, when all proficiency objectives will increase to 100 percent. ... A school that does not make AYP will face sanctions and may be put under reconstruction." The "percentage of schools to make AYP has decreased from last year and it is believed that increased proficiency objectives are to blame. ... Progress is being made, but not fast enough for NCLB. Superintendent of Education Patricia Hamamoto says, 'The progress made by our schools clearly indicates deep learning, especially with a substantial increase in math and reading proficiency targets this year.'"

Paper Calls For "More Realistic Expectations" From NCLB.

The Yakima (WA) Herald-Republic (12/16) editorializes, "Change is on the way for state and federal education agencies, and clearly one challenge facing their new leaders is the need for a complete re-evaluation of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and federal No Child Left Behind Act. We're appalled that several Valley schools don't get proper credit for efforts that have produced measurable 'adequate yearly progress' mandated by the federal law." The Herald-Republic adds, that Yakima Valley students "are showing solid progress in academics, whether [NCLB] acknowledges it or not. With the new presidential administration and a new state superintendent in Olympia, we're at an important crossroads to revisit both programs and come up with more realistic expectations of students, and certainly a better way of measuring progress in learning."

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