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Kansas School Chief Defends NCLB

Ohanian Comment: Compare this attitude toward NCLB with that of Illinois administrators:


Public schools in Missouri likely will not do as well as those in Kansas at meeting standards under new federal legislation, Missouri Education Commissioner Kent King said Monday.

Schools must meet annual benchmarks in math and reading scores under the No Child Left Behind law, which is aimed at making all students academically proficient by the 2013-14 year.

King said the state received data on Missouri schools Friday and will release results on Sept. 2. In Kansas, 13 percent of schools missed adequate yearly progress goals spelled out in the law.

"I anticipate we will have more schools than Kansas did," King told the editorial board of The Kansas City Star.

Schools can fail as a whole or by subgroups, which are based on race, income, English language proficiency and other categories. Failure of one subgroup will fail a whole school.

King said he expects some subgroups to come up short of the standard, including special education students and those with limited English language proficiency. Missouri has 11 subgroups, one more than Kansas.

King said he understands how some good schools and the parents of students in those schools are upset that failure of one subgroup can tarnish the whole school.

"We don't want schools labeled as failing," King said. "A fear I have is that parents will get really frustrated."

By the same token, King said he supports the goals behind the No Child Left Behind law.

"It has forced us as educators, and the public alike, to look at all these groups separately rather than looking at one score," King said. "It's so easy for a school district or school building to look at one set of scores and say, `We are really doing great,' and not worry about this group of kids who are not getting an education. No Child Left Behind is causing us to do that."

— Kevin Murphy
Failing Missouri schools likely to top number in Kansas, chief says
Kansas City Star


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