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Public Schools Concerned About “No Child Left Behind” Performance Judgements

Posted on: March 18, 2010

Hawaii’s public schools continue to struggle, especially when it comes to meeting federal standards under “No Child Left Behind.”

But a plan by President Barack Obama is calling to radically change that law.

Currently over 180 schools in the state are failing to meet their yearly benchmarks.

Rather than be punished, Mr. Obama is calling for those schools to be rewarded for making making progress.

Over the years, Hawaii public schools have made steady gains in math and reading scores, closing the gap on the national average.

But when it comes to making the grade, under No Child Left Behind, schools are failing to meet their adequate yearly progress goals. Last year the number dropped to 36%.

“They might fail one area and as a result of that the whole school fails, it’s like getting a 95% on your exam but you got an ‘F,'” said Board of Education member Janis Akuna.

“Never expected us to be judged against our standards as we are now, so it’s been very difficult to reach those benchmarks every year,” said Board of Education member Karen Knudsen.

President Obama has announced he wants to leave the old No Child Left Behind law behind.

“Unless we take action – unless we step up – there are countless children who will never realize their full talent and potential,” said Mr. Obama.

His plan calls for replacing proficiency tests with benchmarks that prepare students for college and allowing states to measure students in subjects other than math and reading.

“By re-looking at this I don’t think we’ll be judged as harshly but we still want to attain academically, I think we’re welcoming this,” said Knudsen.

“Now schools can show improvement and be rewarded for that improvement,” said Akuna.

The overhaul would also increase funding to schools by four billion dollars, and require all students graduating from high school to be ready for college or a career by 2020.

“Over time, over next couple years we should see something happen and hopefully it’s for the better,” said Akuna.

The president’s plan will go to Congress on Monday and will be heard before the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday.

The president’s overhaul is being criticized. One issue, principals and some teachers would be fired from the nation’s lowest performing schools.

Reported by: Brianne Randle
Last Update: 3/14 8:43 pm

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