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Local Parents Learn About New Law
by Jill Harden
Hampton Union Online
hamptonunion@seacoastonline.com

North Hampton - Residents and parents gathered at the Town Hall on Thursday to learn how to prepare for the enacting of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Sue Heath, a researcher and concerned parent, informed a small group of residents about changes they should expect to happen in the schools in the time previous to the enactment and after.

According to Heath, schools will be taking steps to make sure their students and teachers are performing at a proficient level, worthy of standards set by the federal government through this new act. However, there are a lot of steps that need to be taken and Heath wants to make sure that residents prepared.

"I think it’s going be a lot tougher here than we imagine it to be," said Portsmouth resident Fran Dobrowolski.

According to the No Child Left Behind Act, schools that don’t produce proficient scores will have to provide supplemental services to the students through after school programs and the hiring of extra staff that will be paid for through taxes. Schools will also be responsible for alerting families when test scores are low and parents will be given the choice to move their child to a different school with transportation provided by the town.

Teachers will have to have higher degrees in order to be employed at schools and the schools will be obligated to give out their credentials if asked.Colleges will play a major part by efficiently preparing student teachers according to national standards.

The testing will be provided by the state and the schools will administer the tests. The test results have to be in the proficiency range, which is still being determined by state and federal governments.

Heath’s incentive is to let residents know that school administrations and school boards should be preparing for alterations in the school’s curriculum, staffing and programming so that parents can help the transition along.

According to Heath, parents can help by asking their children questions about the tests and making sure they are in school. Parents can also attend local school board meetings and ask them what steps they are taking and inquire about how they can help with the process.

"If you’re teaching what needs to be taught, the tests shouldn’t be a concern," said Heath. "It’s part of education."

This article was published in Hampton Union Online at:

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/hampton/03042003/news/15947.htm


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