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Archive for the ‘achievement gap’ Category


While speaking at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Virginia, President Barack Obama laid out key changes to No Child Left Behind.

“I want every child in this country to head back to school in the fall knowing that their education is America’s priority,” Obama told the crowd. “Let’s seize this education moment. Let’s fix No Child Left Behind.”

Some of the items include:

  • A fair accountability system that shares responsibility for improvement and rewards excellence, and that is based on high standards and is informed by sophisticated assessments that measure individual student growth;
  • A flexible system that empowers principals and teachers, and supports reform and innovation at the state and local level; and
  • A system focused on the schools and the students most at risk — that targets resources to persistently low-performing schools and ensures the most effective teachers serve students most in need.

According to the Department of Education, NCLB’s broken accountability system means that the overwhelming majority of schools will not meet NCLB’s goals and the students most at risk won’t get the help they need. 

During his speech, the President praised current efforts by Congressional leaders to replace NCLB and urged Congress to make these vital reforms before the next school year begins. 

Sources: Department of Education, Whitehouse.gov

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Low-performing public schools—both charter and traditional district schools—are stubbornly resistant to significant change, according to a new study released this week by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Reviewing 10 states over five years, analysts found the vast majority of such schools remained open and low-performing. The charter sector did slightly better at closing
down weak schools, but neither sector has cause for celebration.

Are Bad Schools Immortal? The Scarcity of Turnarounds and Shutdowns in Both Charter and District Sectors, identified some 2,025 low-performing charter and district schools across 10 states and tracked them from 2003-04 through 2008-09 to determine how many were turned around, shut down, or remained low-performing. Results were dismal. Seventy-two percent of the original low-performing charter schools remained in operation—and remained low-performing—five years later, as did 80
percent of district schools.

Across all 10 states, the charter sector does a bit better than the district sector at closing bad schools: 19 percent of low-performing charters identified in 2003-04 had closed by 2008-09, vs. 11 percent in the district sector. But this isn‘t great news—and it challenges the belief that charters‘ special governance and accountability arrangements ensure that bad ones don‘t linger.

However, among both sectors, real transformation is rare. Few low-performing schools—barely one percent—managed to dramatically improve their proficiency rates over this five-year period. And fewer than 10 percent made even moderate improvements over that time.  Results varied by state. For instance, in Arizona, Florida, and California, the charter sectors did
notably better than districts at closing schools. And Ohio was notably more successful in closing low-performing schools in both sectors than the other nine states in the study. By contrast, Minnesota‘s charter and district sectors displayed both the highest rates of persistent low performance and the lowest rates of closure among the 10 states.

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American students are losing ground in education attainment compared to countries from Korea to Estonia. In a recent edition of @Brookings, a weekly podcast by the Brookings Institute, expert Grover “Russ” Whitehurst poses provocative solutions for students from kindergarten through college.

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According to a new report by the Center of Education Policy (CEP), the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students on standardized state tests is continuing to narrow. Since the 1990’s, the narrowing trend increased at a faster pace within the last decade.

The report is a multi-year study of student achievement and analyzes data collected between 2002 through 2008, using different test data from all 50 states. The report focuses on the achievement gap between white and minority students and low-income students and their peers.

The report begins by using grade four state test results at three different achievement levels. The levels include: basic-and-above, proficient-and-above and advanced. CEP analyzes data of students from different racial and ethnic groups and low income students to see if they made any improvement in any of the three achievement levels and what specific subgroups are lagging behind.

In the study, CEP also looks at the achievement gap between elementary, middle and high school grades and whether or not the gap is narrowing, widening, or staying the same since 2002. They also study the gaps between subgroups with students scoring at or above the proficient level and the gaps between students whose test scores were average.

We enjoy hearing your opinion, so let NSSEA know your thoughts about these new findings and to view the full report by the Center of Education Policy, visit: http://www.cepdc.org/document/docWindow.cfm?fuseaction=document.viewDocument&documentid=292&documentFormatId=4388.

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