Area schools follow state trend in missing education improvement marks
By ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN
TEXAS – Area schools followed a statewide trend in failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress under federal standards through the No Child Left Behind Act.
The Texas Education Agency announced last week that less than half of Texas schools met those federal standards.
Among those schools failing to meet AYP are Marfa Junior/Senior High School, Presidio High School, Lucy Rede Franco Middle School in Presidio and Presidio Elementary School, Alpine Middle and Elementary schools, and Valentine School.
“Forty-four percent of Texas campuses met Adequate Yearly Progress targets this year due to a substantial increase in requirements,” the TEA said in a statement responding to the results.
Under the current guidelines, schools or districts meet AYP requirements if at least 87 percent of students passed the state’s reading and English language arts test and at least 83 percent of students passed the state’s mathematics test. Last year’s passing rate goals were 80 percent for reading and 75 percent for the math test.
Additionally, schools must have a 75 percent graduation rate or 90 percent attendance rate.
Johnny Veselka, the Texas Association of School Administrators executive director said in a statement, “Members of Congress and the Department of Education readily admit that the current NCLB requirements…ask too much of students too quickly.”
No Child Left Behind requires a 100 percent passing rate in both the reading and mathematics tests by 2014 for a school or district to meet AYP.
“Districts or campuses that miss AYP for the same reason (reading, mathematics, graduation rate, or attendance rate) for two or more years and receive Title I funds move into the school improvement program and are subject to sanctions,” the TEA said in a newsletter. Title I funds are federal funds used for low-income students’ education.
There are five stages of the School Improvement Plan. Schools in stage one have to develop an improvement plan and campuses have to offer students the option to transfer to another school that does meet federal AYP benchmarks. Schools that find themselves in stage two through five face harsher sanctions at each stage.
A school that reaches stage five could potentially reopen as a charter school, replace all or most of the school staff, contract with a private management company to run the school or turn the school’s operation completely over to TEA.
Marfa ISD, Presidio ISD and Alpine ISD are all stage one under the improvement plan.