The Cranky Taxpayer
The No Child Left Behind Act imposes a complicated and rigorous set of standards on our schools. If the schools that receive federal aid don't meet those standards, the Act imposes serious consequences.
Beginning in 2003-04, at least 95% of all students must participate in the state assessment system. By 2013-14, all students in Virginia are to achieve proficiency in English (reading/ language arts) and mathematics. Until then the state, every school division, every public school and every subgroup (students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, students with limited English proficiency, and all ethnic groups that exceed 5% of the total student population (black, white, and hispanic) is to make Adequate Yearly Progress (aka "AYP") toward the final goals.
There are two ways to make AYP:
The targets for AYP, set by the Virginia Board of Education, are a 60.7% pass rate in English and 58.4% in mathematics, a graduation rate of 67.2%, and and an average daily attendance rate of 93.4%. These increase in steps to 100% (97% for attendance) in 2013-14.
Schools that make AYP are eligible for Academic Achievement Awards.
Any school that is accredited with warning in English or math or that fails to make AYP for two years running must develop plans to do better. If the school continues to fail to make AYP, it must take additional corrective actions specified by the local school division.
Among those that don't it is important to know whether the school receives federal money under Title I of the Act.
Title I of NCLB is entitled "IMPROVING THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF THE DISADVANTAGED." It authorizes $13.1 billion in fiscal 2002 (increasing to $25 billion in fiscal '07) for local schools. The priority for allocating these funds increases with the total number of children from low-income families in each area or school.
The Title I schools are subject to much more draconian and specific requirements. After failing to make AYP for two years these schools must notify the parents, receive technical assistance (as to data analysis, professional development, use of funds, selection of instructional methods, and use of scientifically-based research), and provide parents "public school choice": (the option of sending their kids to a school that is not failing).
If the Title I school fails to make AYP for a third year (i.e., is listed for a second year), it must provide supplemental educational services (tutoring, remediation, and academic services outside the school day) and continue to offer public school choice.
Title I schools that fail to make AYP for a fourth year (are listed for three years) take one or more of the following corrective actions:
In addition, the division must continue to offer school choice and must "ensure" revision of the school plan.
Title I schools on the list for a fourth year (i.e., failing to make AYP for five years) must continue to offer school choice, provide supplemental educational services, continue the selected corrective actions, and prepare a plan (and make arrangements) to install "alternative governance," i.e.,
Those schools that stay on the list for a fifth year (fail to make AYP for six years) must implement the planned restructuring.