Archive for Monday, April 25, 2011

State leader says more schools will fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress

April 25, 2011


— As students across the state wrap up taking statewide tests, Kansas Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker says she fears more schools will fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind act.

“We are leveling off,” DeBacker said in a presentation to the Kansas Board of Regents last week. “That’s one of the challenges.”

Kansas students’ achievement has increased each year since 2004. Last year, 86.3 percent met or exceeded standards in reading and 83.6 percent in math. And Kansas students continue to outperform the national average in ACT, SAT and National Assessment of Educational Progress scores.

These improvements have occurred at a time when the number of children receiving free or reduced-price lunch, in special education, or who come to school speaking another language has increased dramatically.

But getting those remaining students up to standards as required under NCLB is problematic, DeBacker said.

Reaching 100 percent compliance is impossible, she said, especially in light of $300 million in cuts in state funding to public schools over the past couple of years.

DeBacker said the law is unfair because some schools that have made significant gains will be labeled as failing.

“Schools are going to fail even if they work hard,” she said.

In February, the Kansas Department of Education requested that the U.S. Department of Education hold the annual targets for student performance on reading and math assessments to the 2009-10 levels.

Part of the reason for this is that Kansas has adopted what are called Common Core Standards for student performance and has in place a database that will better gauge individual students’ improvements, education officials said.

“In light of Kansas’ demonstrated commitment to continuing reform, and the state’s intent to maintain challenging performance targets, I think the request for some flexibility while we work to implement the new standards and assessments is appropriate,” said State Board of Education Chairman David Dennis.

DeBacker said the agency has not received any word back yet from the federal education department.


KSManimal 7 years ago

Of course ALL schools will "fail" by 2014 - that was the plan from the start. NCLB is a timeline for the destruction of public education; and a government-forced turnover of schools to corporate interests.

Apply about two seconds of actual thinking to the concept of 100% proficiency: if we define "proficient" as, essentially, the average expectation for a grade level; then NCLB mandates ALL students will be "above average" by 2014. Or, we must define "proficient" as the performance level of the lowest performing student...then, and only then, can the "goal" of NCLB can be met.

Here's some light reading about AYP:

jafs 7 years ago

Don't we have a responsibility to make sure that students are getting a decent education?

How can we do that without requiring certain minimum standards?

speak_up 7 years ago

Of course we do, but the problem is that all students in a given grade level do not have the same capabilities. Perhaps most of them do, but not all. For example, an ESL student who has moved to the US from another country has one year to adjust to the new language, culture, etc before he/she is expected to score proficient under NCLB. One year to learn a language. Do you see the problem? Now imagine students with multiple, severe learning disabilities. Those children are also expected to perform at the same level as their classmates. Not simply improve over last year, but measure up to average students. The expectation is unfair and unrealistic. A child is not being "left behind" simply because a different measure is used to gauge learning. The tenets of NCLB were designed to appear inarguably positive to the layperson, through 30-second soundbites, but anyone who is actually involved in education can tell you that 100% compliance is and always has been an impossible goal. The best school system in the world could not make it happen without excluding some students from school entirely.

jafs 7 years ago

I completely agree with you about LD kids, and I've said so before - it makes no sense to use the same standards for them.

And perhaps ESL as well.

But those could easily be solved by creating reasonable standards for those students.

BigPrune 7 years ago

Why do I smell a tax increase proposal coming again?

Political 7 years ago

It can be demonstrated over and over again that there is nothing wrong with the schools; it is the people in the schools that are the problem!

Joe Hyde 7 years ago

Incessant testing of public school students. A never-ending requirement that each public school must exceed the cumulative test scores it turned in during the previous year, else suffer a cutoff of federal education funds. And now the proposal by Kansas Republican legislators and our governor to reduce state funding support for public school children.

KSManimal, posting above, said it right.

Imposing what eventually becomes an unattainable test score goal leads directly to the mental exhaustion of every school's teachers because NCLB ignores the eventual flattening out of each school's test scores...which then targets each public school for NCLB's arbitrary definition of failure. This weakening mechanism that "authorizes" the destruction of the nation's public schools was the cynical objective of NCLB from the very beginning.

And our state's Republican legislators? Many are eager to claim credit for reducing the budget deficit -- a deficit they created by means of a grossly unequal tax structrure. Now these legislators act like wood shop students run amok, elbowing past one another to hammer nails in public education's coffin. Well, it's a coffin being made with wood they sawed.

strongarmcrunch 7 years ago

And that is just the way the GOP wants it, stupify people.

Terry Jacobsen 7 years ago

Funny cause no child left behind was Ted Kennedy's law. Not the GOP. You ought to keep up with your history

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