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"Incredibly Successfully" Washington State Schools Will Be on Feds "Bad" List
Ohanian: What the reporter fails to mention is that the Washington State education bureaucrats now moaning and groaning are the ones who have been pounding the pavement for the very instrument that will now prove so devastating: WASL. The fact that the Feds are now using WASL to destroy public education doesn't mean that WASL ever served the interests of children.

The reporter calls NCLB "ambitious"; Washington parents can provide more accurate adjectives.

Hundreds of schools considered successful by state standards may earn low marks under the new federal education act and could face sanctions.

That's one aspect of the No Child Left Behind Act that worries many state educators who are formulating a plan to comply with the ambitious federal guidelines.

The act, signed by President Bush last year, demands that states test students more, hire better-qualified teachers, set high standards and reach them or risk losing federal dollars.

The goal: to have all students perform at a proficient level by 2014, based mostly on standardized-test scores.

The Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) will play a significant role. The WASL reading and math test will be given to every student in third through eighth grades and 10th Grade, and a science test will be given to fifth-, eighth- and 10th-graders by the 2005-2006 school year. . . .

Many state educators and principals complain that a school could meet all of the state's "essential academic learning requirements," have a high number of honor students, achieve high test scores and win the prestigious national Blue Ribbon award and still be considered a failure under the federal act.

"The label is unfair and inaccurate," said Mary Alice Heuschel, who as deputy superintendent for learning and teaching, oversees the federal education act for the state. "They could be incredibly successful schools" and still make the list.

Many parents will be shocked and confused to find such schools called failures by the federal government, said Charles Hasse, president of the Washington Education Association, the state's largest teachers union. . . .

— Tan Vinh
Educators worry schools won't measure up to new federal guidelines
Seattle Times
Feb. 6, 2003


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