- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Most Virginia schools fall short of federal achievement standards
Question of the Day
More than three out of five Virginia public schools this year failed to meet federal No Child Left Behind benchmarks — a development that prompted education officials in a state with some of the nation’s highest-performing school districts to renew criticism of the George W. Bush-era standards.
Just 38 percent of Virginia’s 1,839 schools made adequate yearly progress (AYP) last year under provisions of the law. Ninety-seven percent of Virginia school divisions also failed to meet standards based on student performance on standardized tests, according to the figures released Thursday by the Virginia Department of Education.
For a second consecutive year, Virginia as a state did not meet the annual benchmarks.
Individual Virginia schools and school districts were expected to have more than 86 percent of students pass reading tests and 85 percent of students pass math tests — up from benchmarks of 81 percent and 79 percent, respectively, last year. The benchmarks include students in subgroups based on race, income, English proficiency and disabilities.
The benchmarks are becoming increasingly stringent in advance of 2014, by which time all students are expected to be proficient in reading and math.
Even Fairfax County Public Schools, consistently ranked among the top systems in the country, failed to make adequate yearly progress in 2011 after meeting the benchmarks the previous two years.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said Thursday the goals of the law were “laudable” but criticized them as “not a basis for a workable accountability system.”
“Accountability is not advanced by arbitrary rules and benchmarks that misidentify schools” in need of improvement, she said.
The Virginia results were released just days after U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that states could apply for waivers from key portions of the act. Mr. Duncan has estimated that more than 80 percent of schools will fall short of the goal this year, and applications for waivers or expressions of intent to apply for waivers already have come from a handful of states — including Virginia.
The waiver system will free states from many of the law’s mandates, including the “failing” school designation, if the states demonstrate real reform and a high bar for student achievement.
States can get waivers in part by demonstrating they are reforming standards to more accurately measure student progress, and Ms. Wright on Thursday indicated Virginia would work toward such a goal.
“During the coming weeks, I will begin a discussion with the state board on creating a new model for measuring yearly progress that maintains high expectations for student achievement, recognizes growth — overall and by subgroup — and accurately identifies schools most in need of improvement,” she said.
Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale said that educators in his district are focusing on how much students in subgroups improve on the state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, which measure performance in subjects such as English, math, science and history based on state-approved standards, among other assessments.
In the past five years, math and reading scores in all subgroups have improved, Mr. Dale said.
“I think when you look at it school-by-school, it’s difficult to make the case that this is an adequate way to measure achievement,” said Fairfax County schools spokesman Paul Regnier of the current federal standards.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Actress Glenn Close, advocacy groups prod Congress on mental health legislation
- Virginia conservative offers solution to bureaucratic nightmare regarding concealed weapons
- House retirements creating pickup opportunities for Democrats and Republicans
- Senate confirms Obama pick Jeh Johnson as Homeland Security secretary
- 75 is the new old: VA DMV study recommends fitness tests for aging drivers
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow