Good Schools or Bad? Conflicting Ratings

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Good Schools or Bad? Conflicting Ratings
By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 02:01 am: Edit

From NYT

Students are returning to classes across the nation amid a cacophony of contradictory messages about the quality of their education, as thousands of schools with vaunted reputations have been rated in recent weeks as low-performing under a federal law.

School ratings issued under the terms of the president's No Child Left Behind law have clashed with school report card systems administered by some states, leaving parents unsure which level of government to believe or whether to transfer their children, an option offered by the law.

In North Carolina, which pioneered one of the nation's most sophisticated accountability systems, more than 32 schools ranked as excellent by the state failed to meet Washington's criteria for academic progress. In California, 317 schools showed tremendous academic growth on the state's performance index, yet the federal law labeled them low-performing.

Here in Darien, the Hinsdale South High School is one of a dozen prestigious high schools in prosperous Chicago suburbs that failed to meet a federal target and were obligated to send letters to parents explaining their shortcomings and offering to transfer children to other schools.

The conflict between state and federal evaluations has confused hundreds of communities since early August, when class bells began ringing for the fall term in several Southern states. In Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush announced that the state had rated more than two-thirds of Florida's 3,100 schools as high-performing. But three-quarters were rated as low-performing under the federal law.

"We have a school down here that is absolutely extraordinary - all the kids take Advanced Placement courses,'' said Jane Gallucci, chairwoman of the Pinellas County School Board and a past president of the Florida School Boards Association, "and the feds called it a failing school. Now that's ludicrous."

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By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 12:15 pm: Edit

Since the No Child Left Behind legislation, our district has had an assistant superintendent that has done nothing but handle the government red tape associated with it. That's money that could have gone for teacher salaries and textbook. Now, the state of Texas, W's own, is looking to lose several million dollars because of non-conformity to a technicality. That's our boy. The Texas schools have suffered from this since early in his governorship. I wish I could offer hope, but I can't. It amazes me that a president from the party that is anti big government would do nothing but create a system that is filled with rules, regulations and accountability procedures and has done nothing but create administrative jobs and siphoned money from the system for teachers and books.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 12:57 pm: Edit

In Alabama the problem is a poorly worded regulation, I do not know if it is in the NCLB legislation, in the regulations that accompanied it or if it is the state trying to implement the legis, but here's the problem.
Over 2/3rds of the schools failed, but of the failing schools, the majority (more than 3/4ths) failed because a very high percentage of the students must be present to take the measuring exam - some schools missed the required number by 1 student. To make it worse, the qualifying number is determined by some measure of enrollment done early in the year, and the test is actually given in the spring.
Of course high school kids aren't going to come in to take "some stupid test" unless it is required - and AL already requires a stringent graduation exam.
These details must be ironed out, I'm sure in spring 05 there will be an all out push to get kids in class on testing day.

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