October 30, 2013

Baesler: All schools will fail

North Dakota schools will all fail to meet national standards next year, according to Department of Public Instruction officials.
“We expect all of our schools will be in a (Annual Yearly Progress) failing status,” State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said. “It’s just the reality. We are in pretty good company because some of the best states in the (country) will have school districts that are 100 percent failing.”
Students across the state are sitting down for hours taking the test for AYP, a report that determines how school districts are performing academically. The test that was intended to help “close the gap” between high and low performing schools, but it has been a headache for school officials, Baesler said, adding the requirements have gotten more unrealistic with each year.
DPI has called on congressional help to overturn NCLB, but Baesler agreed that Congress is focused on farm bills and presenting a budget to prevent another government shutdown.
“We continue to work with our congressional delegation,” she said. “Education seems to take a back seat. It can be frustrating for educators.”
AYP began through the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law in 2001. The law intended to set higher standards and establish measurable goals to help educate children. It has been a topic of controversy among educators, often called a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
The test sets a bar to pass each year, according to DPI. The law originally pushed for at least 42 percent of the students to be proficient in reading and 24 percent in math for the 2001-02 school year. Those numbers jumped in 2005 and in 2008. By 2011 all schools had to have at least 85 percent of their students proficient in reading and 81 percent in math. All schools must be 100 percent proficient for the 2014 report.
“We know that when No Child Left Behind started that that was an unreachable goal,” Baesler said. “It’s absolutely unreachable.”


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