Don’t assume that a school is bad just because it’s not making adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law. That comment came today from Madison School Board member Lucy Mathiak, whose children attend or have attended East High School.
East and three other Madison public high schools were cited for not making the necessary progress outlined by No Child Left Behind legislation, which requires that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. In addition to being cited for not making adequate yearly progress, East was also rapped for not having made sufficient progress for two straight years.
La Follette High School, which was on the list last year for not making progress two years in a row, was removed from that list this year. However, there were other areas this year where La Follette did not meet the required proficiency levels for some groups of students.
“I’m not saying I’m thrilled to see the results,” Mathiak said. “But it’s not as if all schools have equal populations of students facing huge challenges in their lives, chief among them issues of poverty.”
Art Rainwater, superintendent of the Madison School District, said the preliminary list of schools that didn’t make adequate yearly progress, which the Department of Public Instruction released Tuesday, “didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know.”
“Sooner or later, between now and 2013, every school in America is going to be on the list,” Rainwater said.
Rainwater said there are students at all schools who aren’t learning at the level they should be, and that the district has been working hard to address the needs of those students.
It’s a list no school wants to land on. In Wisconsin, the number of schools not meeting federal guidelines more than doubled, from 45 last year to 92 in 2005-06. The lists can be seen here. One list contains schools not making adequate yearly progress (AYP) for one year. Schools in need of improvement are schools who have failed to meet AYP for two or more years in a row.
Of the 92 schools were the four main Madison high schools, though Superintendent Art Rainwater cautioned against reading too much into it.
At many local schools this past school year, only one or two segments of students failed to score high enough on state tests.
In Madison, East, La Follette, West, and Memorial high schools all did not make enough yearly progress. The state department of public instruction cited low reading scores at three of those four.
Superintendent Art Rainwater said those lower scores came from special needs and low-income students. “Certainly this in a very public way points out issues, but the fact that they didn’t do well on this test is secondary to the fact that we have children who are in the district who aren’t successful,” said Rainwater.
Staff at Memorial and LaFollette were already working on changes to those schools’ Read 180 programs, including adding special education teachers.
The list has “broken some barriers relative to different parts of the state,” Deputy State Superintendent Tony Evers said. Still, the majority of schools on the list are from urban districts such as Milwaukee, Madison and Racine.