Selected Education Media Clips on No Child Left Behind
Success Rate High For Local Schools - Only 7 Fall Short On State Testing
Southern Maryland's public school systems generally met the state criteria for progress on standardized reading and math tests, according to state data released this week.
Across the state, nearly 200 public schools -- more
than one-third of them in Montgomery and
"We're right on target," said Charles County
Superintendent James E. Richmond. "We're doing everything we can
to make sure we meet the expectations of the
The performance targets, mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, are applied to several subgroups within schools, including racial and ethnic groups, low-income children, special education students, and those who speak limited English. A school must have every subgroup reach the standards to pass as a whole, and each year, the standards get increasingly stringent.
"We've already worked with them on their school
In St. Mary's County, Benjamin Banneker Elementary and George Washington Carver Elementary failed to meet the special education reading standard for the first time this year. But Superintendent Patricia M. Richardson said that with one more proficient student at Banneker, and two more at Carver, the schools would have met the state goals.
"It's a signal we need to continue moving forward, strengthening the quality of instruction, but it's not a signal that there needs to be a complete overhaul," she said.
"You can't just wait until this test comes around in the spring, you have to monitor year-round," she said.
Two schools in
At Appeal, the addition of Principal Laurie Haynie brought "new energy to the building and some new
expectations," said Carol Reid, assistant superintendent for instruction
"There were some very, very focused interventions in the areas of reading and math," Reid said. "And a determination on the part of that staff that they didn't like the label [of a struggling school]. They worked overtime to show that they were better than that."
The schools that dipped below the standards this year
in Calvert -- Southern Middle School and
Overall, 14 percent of public schools in
The challenge to meet state standards will only become tougher in coming years, as the performance bar is raised several percentage points. By 2014, all students will be expected to reach proficiency levels.
"It never stops,"
Sexual misconduct by adults plagues students
More than 4.5 million students endure sexual misconduct by employees at their schools, from inappropriate jokes all the way to forced sex, according to a report to Congress.
The best estimate available shows nearly one in 10 kids faces misbehavior ranging from unprofessional to criminal sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade, says the report by Charol Shakeshaft, a Hofstra University professor.
"Most people just don't think this can really happen," said Shakeshaft, hired by the Education Department to study the prevalence of sexual abuse in schools. "We imagine that all teachers are like most teachers, in that they've gone into teaching to help children. Most do, but not all."
The report, required by the No Child Left Behind law and delivered to Congress on Wednesday, is the first to analyze research about sexual misconduct at schools.
Some educators took issue with the way the report combines sexual abuse with other behaviors, such as inappropriate jokes, in one broad category of sexual misconduct.
"Lumping harassment together with serious sexual misconduct does more harm than good by creating unjustified alarm and undermining confidence in public schools," said Michael Pons, spokesman for the National Education Association, a union of 2.7 million school employees. "Statistically, public schools remain one of the safest places for children to be."
Sex offenses in schools detailed
WASHINGTON Nearly 10 percent of U.S. elementary and secondary students will experience some kind of sexual misconduct from inappropriate jokes to actual molestation committed by school employees, according to a report compiling more than 10 years of research.
The study, required by the No Child Left Behind Act and delivered to Congress on Wednesday, pulls together research, surveys, media reports and criminal statistics to
examine the frequency of sexual harassment and abuse involving students and adults.
"This report arms parents with information," said Brian Jones, general counsel at the Education Department.
Teachers or teachers' aides are responsible for about 40 percent of incidents, the report found. Black and Latino students are more likely than white students to be targets of misconduct. About 56 percent of students who reported misconduct were female, and 57 percent of the offenders were male.
The report covers students ages 5 to 18 and all school
employees, including teachers, coaches, bus drivers, counselors and
administrators. Although the study was commissioned to look at only
sexual abuse, researcher Charol Shakeshaft,
an education professor at
Federal Education Secretary Cites Progress
News in other sections: U.S. Treasury Secretary John
Snow pumps hands and stumps for the Bush administration's economic policies
during a quick visit to
Summary: Rod Paige tells teachers at a
U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige said Tuesday that the No Child Left Behind law is beginning to show results. He dismissed critics who contend it should be abandoned or radically changed.
"Anytime you have big changes, you are going to
have complaints," Paige said during a
Paige, a Bush appointee, dropped in on a U.S. Department of Education workshop on effective teaching practices. Speaking to about 200 teachers from around the nation, he praised their work and said that to make them more effective, the department will spend about $5 billion next year to improve teacher quality.
Outside the Portland Marriott Downtown meeting, however,
a noisy group of
Paige denied he was making a political appearance and
said it was a coincidence that Treasury Secretary John Snow was in
The No Child Left Behind law, enacted in 2001, requires students to be tested annually in reading and math, and schools to boost academic performance so that all students meet state benchmarks by 2014. Schools must demonstrate annual progress toward that goal for all groups of students, including minority, disabled and limited- English students.
Paige dismisses complaints
Paige, in a news conference later, said some educators are complaining about the law because, for the first time, there are serious consequences for schools and districts where performance doesn't improve.
"We need to stay the course and not water down the law," Paige said.
He told the teachers that the law appears to be making a difference. Reading test scores among fourth-graders had been flat for years despite increasing amounts of federal support to schools. But in the past two years, Paige said, there has been modest improvement.
"I see the corner being turned somewhat in student achievement," Paige said. "The trend is up. More important, we see even more dramatic increases in the big urban areas."
The two-day workshop brought teachers from 37 states to hear presentations from other teachers who have improved student performance, sometimes in difficult circumstances. It is the second of seven teacher-to-teacher workshops the department is sponsoring. The federal Education Department pays conference fees and lodging for participants.
Some questions about law
Cheryl Wester, a special
education teacher from
"It's been very informative, very inspiring," she said.
But she questioned whether all students could achieve her state's academic standards in 10 years, as required by the act.
Jan Pearce, a
"I think," she said, "this law has the potential to dismantle public education."
Steven Carter: 503-221-8521; email@example.com
Schools may be spared sanctions; Tweaks could lessen
No Child Left Behind law's effect on state
Changes in how
Several technical but significant tweaks could reduce the number of schools and districts in jeopardy of sanctions under the law by 30 percent to 40 percent, said Pete Bylsma, director of research, evaluation and accountability for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The office expects to announce the new plan officially later this week, but administrators have acknowledged that the final version was approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, interviewed
"We want to stay the course and not weaken the law," Paige said after addressing about 200 teachers attending a conference his department organized. "I think it's time for us to muster the will and to experience some of the cost when you go through a big change."
Each state is required to submit a workbook showing how its schools comply with the law's strict and complicated demands, representing the most far-reaching role the federal government has ever played in public education, which is largely financed by state and local taxes.
The biggest change in
Thus, when the results of the 2004 Washington Assessment of Student Learning are announced in August, schools will be judged against the 2002 goals for the percentages of students passing the tests. In 2005, the expectations will "stair step" to higher goals. Under the previous system, the goals increased each year.
Many states, including
Under No Child Left Behind, schools and districts that receive federal funding for poor students, known as Title I, face a progressive series of remedial sanctions when too few students meet reading and math benchmarks.
All schools, whether or not they receive that funding, are required to report to the community whether they've met the goals. They escape the teeth, but not the finger-pointing.
"Overall, we learned from the first year," Bylsma said. The 2003- 2004 school year was the first the law was fully implemented. "The feds are still learning how this is all going to be implemented. We're getting it right."
The Department of Education, under mounting criticism that the law is unreasonably strict and costly, has offered greater flexibility within the letter of the legislation, particularly as it relates to students who are disabled or English language learners.
"This is the first time the plans (have) faced the real reality of schooling," Paige said. The fixes are genuine, not political, he said. "What we want to do is make sure that the law requires all of our kids to be measured but is not unreasonable about it."
Based on 2003 results on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, 432 of the state's 1,956 schools and 123 of 296 districts failed to clear the requirements of No Child Left Behind, which examines scores according to racial and ethnic groups, income and participation in special education and English language programs.
The modifications to the system may give the two schools some breathing room.
"It sounds very sensible," said Ogden Principal Curtis Smith, who has worried about staff morale flagging if his school was one of the first in the county to be sanctioned for low achievement. "I truly feel what we're doing is headed in the right direction, and this is giving us more time to grow and improve."
Tom Cone, an assistant superintendent for the
"In any other human attribute jumping, running there is no other place that we hold people accountable to the same standard of performance," Cone said. "It just makes no sense."
The law, the flagship of President Bush's domestic agenda, has become a bitter election year issue, even though Congress approved it with bipartisan support in 2001
Paige said his visit was about helping teachers rather than helping the president's re-election prospects, but Paige and No Child Left Behind will be prominent in Bush's campaign. Paige, along with such GOP superstars as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will deliver a prime-time speech during the Republican National Convention.
Meanwhile, the law has drawn harsh criticism from educators and state legislators who consider the demands too intrusive and too expensive. The nation's largest teachers union, the National Education Association, called for Paige's resignation after he publicly used the word "terrorist" to characterize the NEA's efforts to discredit the law.
Paige, 71, gained prominence as superintendent of the
The three-day session is the second of seven summer
workshops Paige's agency is sponsoring around the country to encourage
teachers to share effective classroom strategies. Organizers said 90
In a private session later with reporters, Paige spoke
forcefully of the mission of the controversial law he's still trying
to sell three years after its passage. "There is a national 30-point
gap between the performances of African American students and Anglo
students in the
Does No Child Left Behind help or hurt schools?
On one side: The Bush administration stands by the sweeping federal law as a tough-but-necessary source of discipline, ensuring that public schools eliminate achievement gaps among rich and poor, and white and minority students.
On another side: Many educators and state legislators say the law sets impossible goals and fails to provide enough money to implement its demands.
How to get involved: Write to your representative and senators in Congress.
Education Tops Latino List
Priorities Detailed In National Poll
Forget the war on terror. When it comes to what's on the minds of Latinos, education tops the list.
That's the finding of a nationwide poll that surveyed 1,000 Latinos at the end of May. The poll, conducted by New York-based Zogby International, found that 34 percent of those surveyed said education is the most important issue facing Latinos. Twenty-two percent said the economy was the most pressing issue, followed by immigration, civil rights and health care.
Two percent said the war on terror was the most important issue facing Latinos.
"All politicians should be on notice that speaking a few words in Spanish won't work anymore," said Raul Yzaguirre, president of the National Council of La Raza. "Like other Americans, Latinos will vote on the issues."
The National Council of La Raza was a sponsor of the poll.
F. Chris Garcia,
The poll is important, he said, because it means in order to win a battleground state like New Mexico, presidential candidates will have to convince Latino voters their education plan is best.
Since Latino voters make up 36 percent of the state's electorate, the issue of education may sway the election, he said.
In 2000, Democrat Al Gore won
Polls show President Bush and the presumed Democratic
nominee John Kerry in a statistical tie in
This latest survey on Latinos spells good news for the president, said Rosario Marin, national co-chair of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign. "While the Democrats continue to take the Latino vote for granted, President Bush has a clear record in improving education with Latinos," Marin said.
Marin said the president has increased Pell Grants to needy college students by 47 percent since taking office. And she said the No Child Left Behind law allows Latino parents to move their children from under performing schools.
But John Kerry spokesman Ruben Pulido
Jr. said Bush's 2005 budget underfunds the
No Child Left Behind law by $9.4 billion next year, with $66 million
less coming to
"John Kerry wants to ensure that any education program passed in Congress be automatically funded by law," Pulido said.
Bush officials say the law is fully funded.
Karen Sanchez-Griego, head
Kerry has invited local community leaders to a roundtable
discussion on Latino education, and White House officials have invited
"We're hearing a lot of rhetoric on both sides," she said. "But we'll see who puts their money where their mouth is."
State education officials moving ahead with database
The department is getting bids for a qualified provider to implement the system, which will collect student demographics, assessments, teacher, classroom and other school information in a single database.
Education Commissioner Richard Cate said he hopes schools and supervisory unions embrace the system and agree to participate once it's up and running.
"We are walking down this road gently and we will be talking to a lot of people in the process," Cate said. "Today, no, we will not require schools to take part. Down the road, we will be having discussions on requiring schools to report their data electronically."
The database has been a priority of Cate's since he became commissioner last year.
"I see it as a benefit for all. We want to bring it all together in one electronic system," said Cate.
Increased student reporting required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, as well as state data on test scores, attendance, school safety and dropout rates will all be entered into the system and delivered over the Internet, Cate said.
He stressed the security of such a system, and said students will have "unique, encoded identification numbers."
But Lauren Poster, a member of the Marlboro school board, said the electronic data warehouse was one of the main reasons the board voted in April to sign a resolution refusing to abide by the No Child Left Behind Act.
Poster said an administrator at her school received a letter that required the school to submit new information on the children, and to do it electronically.
"The privacy issue is a big concern for us. If Johnny gets medications, or speaks English as a second language, or has been reprimanded, I don't see why they need to know all of that. When you get all of the details in one place, the privacy issues are our ultimate concern," Poster said.
Students at risk for sexual abuse June 30, 2004
June 30, 2004
As many as one in 10 public school students is sexually harassed or abused at some point by a teacher or other school worker, the first large-scale study on the topic suggests.
Sexual harassment, including inappropriate jokes, gestures,
sexual rumors and flashing, is more prevalent than assault, says the
Brian Jones, general counsel of the Education Department, calls the abuse "widespread," adding, "The scope of sexual misconduct is much broader than what I think many of us thought or hoped."
David Finkelhor, director
of Crimes Against Children Research Center
Vincent Ferrandino of the National Association of Elementary School Principals says the figure "seems kind of high to me."
Educators also say it's misleading to combine sexual harassment and abuse into one category.
The new report, issued to Congress on Wednesday, was a requirement of the No Child Left Behind education law. It finds that the best estimate of "educator sexual misconduct" comes from a 2000 survey of students in eighth through 11th grades by the American Association of University Women. It found that 9.6% of students had experienced sexual harassment or abuse by teachers or other school employees.
The association's Jean-Marie Navetta says the group stands by its research, and "student-to-student" incidents are more common than those by adults.
The Education Department will review the study and "try to build sound policy based on it," Jones says.
199 public schools miss state standards, Improvement
program aims to increase compliance with No Child Left Behind
Act; 65 more in danger of being added
That total includes 84 schools the MSDE placed in its improvement program for the first time for failing to achieve a threshold known as Adequate Yearly Progress the last two years.
MSDE also has kept 115 schools in the program, though 65 of those are eligible to leave the program if they meet the threshold next year, as they did this past year, according to MSDE.
A school must fail to meet the AYP threshold for two years in a row to be placed in the program.
A school that meets the threshold two years in a row can leave the improvement program -- a feat achieved by 25 schools this year, MSDE figures show.
To see if your child's school is failing to meet AYP, click here.
In addition, 65 schools are on "alert" -- in danger of being added to the improvement program after failing to achieve the AYP threshold this past year, MSDE said.
Last year, 388 schools were in danger of being added to the school improvement program.
Of that total, only 84 continued to fail to achieve
AYP -- an example, state officials said, of how much overall student
test scores improved in
Maryland School Assessment results released earlier
this month, for example, showed scores increasing in all of
"Our schools have done remarkably well this year, and consequently, the results are very encouraging," said Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools. "At the same time we still have a number of schools not making enough progress."
The federal No Child Left Behind law requires that public schools show improvement in both reading and math across all grade levels no matter race or ethnicity or whether students are in special education, have limited English skills or come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Illinois State Board of Education