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Adequate Yearly Progress
Though they strongly concurred with the principle of holding schools and states accountable for results, the chiefs stated that calculations suggest that the vast majority of schools will be identified as in need of improvement within a few years. Many of these, they said, will be given that label despite the fact that they can demonstrate sustained and significant improvement for all students.
The chiefs noted that the single bar method currently promoted within NCLB, wherein all schools must reach a single criteria, penalizes schools that are showing gains, but do not necessarily reach a goal. The letter requests permission to use a growth model as an alternative to the status model. This would allow schools demonstrating growth (defined as significant improvement in the percent proficient) to meet AYP.
The Chiefs - - representing Alaska, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Washington, California, Maine, Nevada, Connecticut, Montana, and Pennsylvania - - recognized their requests would require changes within the current law - - something unlikely to happen this year.
While agreeing that the Chief's concerns could not be addressed without changing the law, Acting Deputy Secretary Hickok noted that the Department does not support opening the law to revisions. Hickock also felt that estimates of the vast majority of schools being listed as in need of improvement were overstated.
House Representatives Miller (D-CA) and Boehner (R-OH) both had harsh words for the letter. Both felt it would gut NCLB in that schools would never really "arrive" at a goal. "Growth alone cannot be good enough," said Rep. Miller. Source: New York Times (3/25/04).
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How Will NCLB Affect You?
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) includes requirements about parental involvement, highly-qualified teachers, scientifically based reading instruction, tutoring and supplemental educational services, research-based teaching methods, and school and school district report cards.
If you are a parent, teacher, administrator, child advocate, or attorney, the articles listed on How Will NCLB Affect You? will help you sort things out.