Friday, April 14, 2006

Without extra funding, 122 schools may ‘fail’ under No Child Left Behind

From Fairfax Virginia comes a story that is happening all over the country right now including in my home town...
GERRY CONNOLLY (D), chairman of the Board of Supervisors, was astonished that despite massive amounts of funding, 61 percent of the county's schools are in danger of "failing."
"To tell this board that with a $2.1 billion budget, 122 schools are still at risk? At least to this Supervisor, that is a somewhat startling message," Connolly said.
Connolly pointed out that the federal government has done a poor job of funding its sweeping education requirements, leaving local governments like Fairfax County to pick up the bill.
"We are in fact spending a lot on No Child Left Behind," he said. "And, if I recall correctly, the federal government has reimbursed us a total of $16 million."
WITHIN FOUR or five years, the vast majority of schools in Fairfax County and throughout Virginia will begin to "fail" under No Child Left Behind, no matter how much money is spent.
By 2010-2011, approximately 90 percent of all students will be required to pass the math and English exams. Fairfax County school officials said that simply is not possible.
"It's realistic that you get to 90 percent," said Patrick Murphy, the school system's assistant superintendent for accountability. "That stretches you, but it can be done. Statistically speaking, you can't go much further beyond that."
Under No Child Left Behind, 100 percent of all student groups must pass the math and reading exams by the 2013-2014 school year.
"I don't know anything in our society that can be 100 percent," Murphy said.

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