48% of schools missed progress goals

Forty-eight percent of public schools failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress, according to the Center on Education Policy.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who predicted 82 percent of schools would miss AYP, also failed to reach his target.

About Joanne


  1. Hey, Joanne, this might mean something if we actually knew what AYP is. Did you know that in Ohio, and most other states, I suspect, school districts are not told how AYP is calculated.

    Yet we continue to judge students and teachers on something so opaque.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Every state gets to determine its own benchmarks by which AYP is judged.

    There’s a really simple overview here:


    • Michael, I don’t think “high standards of achievement” and “continuous academic improvement” could be more subjective. This is how the government wants it, though.

      Also, my own district superintendent told us that the state refuses to release a transparent view of how it calculates AYP.

  3. And how many of those school are only “failing” because of one or two subgroups? There are a number of schools in my area that have very high overall test scores but wound up being labeled as “failing” because they couldn’t get enough special ed kids and/or English Language Learners to pass the tests.

    While I sympathize with the sentiment behind the slogan “No Child Left Behind”, realistically even the best schools aren’t going to be able to get 100% of the kids to grade-level proficiency.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      They don’t need to get 100% of those kids to proficiency. They only need to make
      progress in improving the scores for those kids. And, the state sets the standard for what adequate progress actually is. NCLB is a toothless tiger – always has been. The fact that they can’t make any kind of progress is pathetic.

      • The schools are required to get 100% of students to proficiency by 2014. Some states did apply for waivers from this absurd requirement, but California didn’t. The state labeled 2/3 of schools as “failing” this year, catching many schools that have very high overall test scores. I think it’s ridiculous to label a school that has test scores in the top 10% of the state as “failing” just because of the special ed or ELL kids.

        • It is not just the Special Ed and ELL kids. There is also a sizable number of “regular” kids who have no interest in being academically successful.

        • Stacy in NJ says:

          Right. They don’t need to reach 100% proficiency YET. They need to make “adequate” progress in progressing to 100% proficiency by 2014.

  4. Second article with Sec Ed Duncan not knowing of which he speaks. Can someone remind me why he was hired?

    Oh, right. He’s from Chicago. That explains a lot.

    • You couldn’t be more right, Mike. I voted for Obama and was so excited for the impact he was going to make on education. Then he hires Duncan and completely turns his back on education. What a letdown.

  5. A lot of my problem with “Must get x% to ‘proficient'” is because it encourages schools to teach solely the kids who are on track or slightly below, while ignoring those who are far below or already ahead.

    If a student enters 9th grade and is reading at the 3rd grade level, and a year later enters 10th grade reading at the 6th grade level, I think the high school’s doing a fantastic job with this student and should be commended. Even if he enters 10th grade reading at the 4th grade level, he’s still made more average progress this year than in his previous years. But because he still isn’t “proficient”, it doesn’t count.

    • Michael E. Lopez says:

      If you wish proof that our culture is without sufficient courage, consider that the phrase “enters 9th grade reading at a 3rd grade level” doesn’t make you scratch your head in puzzlement.

      • Many districts don’t retain students until high school level; that’s not usually up to the receiving high school. If the middle school says they’re promoted, they’re promoted.

      • Michael, entering 9th grade while reading at a 3rd grade level is certainly discouraging. It can’t, however, be a constant battle cry against American education, in general. As frustrating as it is, there are dozens of factors that create these situations.

        Non-educators love to say that a student like the one in Kiana’s example should never make the 9th grade. This brings up the retention debate, which has far-reaching ramifications on schools, communities and students.

        While it’s easy to indict teachers as failing the poor reader, if the student is a constantly-moving transient, it’s virtually impossible to help him in a single year.

        If he comes to a district that is mired in a poor reading program, which handcuffs what teachers can accomplish with low-performers, he’ll lose another year.

        If his father is in jail and his mother is on drugs, the child is further doomed.

        So, you see, as puzzling as this scenario is, there are many factors that make it difficult to overcome.

        • Maybe we should be funding boarding schools for students in these kinds of situations. As expensive as that would be, it would likely be less than what we currently spend on having so many of them in prison and/or supporting them & their families with government handouts as adults.

        • Michael E. Lopez says:

          Of course it’s complicated!

          And maybe, because of all the complications, sophisticated thinkers like you and I can decide that putting sub-literate children into high school classes is really the best of a wide variety of bad, bad options.

          But it’s so obviously a bad idea to let a 3rd grade reader be placed in what is supposed to be a 9th grade classroom that I think the burden is on such a sophisticated thinker to explain why it’s the best option.
          I’d do it myself, but I don’t actually think it is the best option so I wouldn’t be a good advocate unless I were being paid. I actually think it’s close to the worst option, and should be probably be considered criminal fraud to boot.

          Now, your point might just have been that simple exclusion/retention of this type doesn’t solve the host of complicated ills. I think that’s right, but I also think that no one really thinks it will. Some people don’t care. Some people haven’t thought through what happens if you start excluding/retaining kids. Some people just know that what they’re seeing is really bad, and they want it stopped, assuming that things must get better if you put a stop to bad practices.

          Those seem to me to be reasonable positions. Perhaps mistaken, but reasonable. Public elementary and secondary schools and teachers and policy-makers are taking heat, yes. But they’re taking heat for allowing something quite obviously bad to happen.

          I think that it’s on them to explain themselves — something they’ve not been doing a great job of. Saying that it’s complicated, and difficult to overcome, isn’t an explanation for why social promotion really is the best solution. And if the powers that be really think it is the best solution, they should be prepared to explain why.