"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Calera High School Becomes NCLB Casualty for 0.65% Shortfall in Attendance

It does not matter that Calera High met 20 of 21 goals and missed the 21th by less than 1 percentage point in attendance. Fair? No. Insane? Yes. Manufactured failure by NCLB? You bet.

From the Birmingham News:

It's a crushing blow to find out your high school has flunked state requirements, but Calera High Principal Ken Mobley plans on celebrating anyway.

Only a disappointing graduation rate dragged down the school's other accomplishments, Mobley said.

"It's demoralizing to meet 20 out of 21 goals and still be labeled a failing school," Mobley said. "We had six students not pass the graduation exam, and because of those six kids, Calera High School is considered a failing school."

Calera is among 109 high schools in Alabama that failed to meet state requirements only because of their graduation rates. Of the 241 Alabama schools that did not achieve 100 percent of their goals this year, 45 percent failed solely because of the graduation rate.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, schools must make adequate yearly progress each year on state assessments. They must meet state goals in reading, math and other indicators, including high schools graduation rates.

Darrell Hudson, principal of Carver High School in Birmingham, said he was devastated to learn his school failed solely because its graduation rate dropped slightly from the year before. That was especially painful, he said, since Carver surpassed the state average of 82 percent.

"We have an 89.35 percent graduation rate in an inner-city school, but because we had a 90 percent graduation rate the year before, we are considered a failing school," he said. "The people I feel bad for is the faculty, because it doesn't give a true reading of our success." . . . .

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