BEING STUPID IT'S GOOD FOR THE USA MILITARY (PENTAGON) !
THE MORE STUPID THE EASIER IT IS TO RECRUIT THEM STUPID GANGSTAS.
School districts start to face sanctions under landmark law
By JULIET WILLIAMS (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
May 10, 2008 12:06 PM EDT
THERMAL, Calif. - At
Las Palmitas Elementary School, nestled between rundown homes and
fields of grapes, peppers and dates in Southern California, 99 percent
of students live in poverty and fewer than 20 percent speak English
Las Palmitas and other schools in the
Coachella Valley Unified School District are just the type policy
makers had in mind when Congress passed the federal No Child Left
Behind Act in 2001 to shed light on the disparities facing poor and
Nineteen of the district's 21 schools
- including Las Palmitas - have not met the federal law's performance
benchmarks for four years. Now the entire district faces sanctions for
the first time.
"We have hardworking, dedicated,
trained teachers like everybody else. They've got to teach a language,
they've got to teach the content, and they've got to counter poverty,"
said Foch "Tut" Pensis, the district's superintendent. "We are the
poster child for NCLB."
California has 97 school districts
that failed to meet their goals under the law for four years, more than
twice as many failing districts as any other state so far. Kentucky has
the next highest number facing sanctions, with 47.
Nationwide, 411 school districts in 27 states now face intervention.
Over the next few years, hundreds more
districts are destined to enter the next phase that California already
has begun. The state has ordered districts to undergo everything from
reporting how they are implementing the federal law to having a team of
specialists assess every aspect of their operations. In the most
extreme cases, California districts could be subject to a state
How California and the other states will turn around those struggling districts is unclear.
"No one, on a large scale, has figured
out how to solve the achievement gap," Pensis said. "Everybody's
looking for that answer."
If they need better teachers and
administrators, it's not apparent where they will come from. Some
federal money is available, but it's unlikely it will be enough to
cover all the failing districts.
Many states already are losing revenue
due to the sliding economy. California's budget deficit for the fiscal
year that begins this summer is projected to be anywhere from $15
billion to $20 billion.
No Child Left Behind sought to shine a
light on inequality in the nation's education system, where schools
have been accused of setting lower expectations for poor and minority
children. Nationwide, black and Hispanic students consistently lag
behind their white and Asian peers in performance, a chasm referred to
as the achievement gap.
The law also set tough goals for districts to demonstrate steady improvement.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret
Spellings says California is taking the right steps. It is the first
state to take widespread action against all its districts that have
failed to meet the achievement target set by No Child Left Behind.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the
state's elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O'Connell,
proposed the sliding scale of punishment for the 97 districts - which
are responsible for educating nearly a third of California's 6.3
Their approach reserves severe
measures, such as replacing administrators or a takeover by the state,
for districts that have shown the least improvement.
"He is the first governor to kind of
embrace this law, to take it on himself, to be acting for it, and in
keeping completely with the spirit of No Child Left Behind," Spellings
said in an interview.
By taking action now, California can
collect $45 million from the federal government. The districts facing
the most severe sanctions each will receive $250,000 in federal money
to pay for intervention teams and to start following their suggestions.
They will need to hire turnaround
experts, new principals and coaches, and many more teachers to replace
those judged to be ineffective. Where the districts will find those
top-quality educators is unknown. California expects to face a shortage
of as many as 100,000 qualified teachers in the next decade, even
without changes to its existing school system.
"I think it's going to take
leadership, commitment and expectations," she said. "It's just like
with the kids: If you think you have a bunch of kids who can't get to
grade level, that's what you have. If you think you have superstars,
that's what you have."
With half the black and Hispanic
students in the country dropping out before graduation, anything less
than aggressive action to turn around the failing districts is
unacceptable, Spellings said. Under some of the states' current
improvement plans, it would take some districts more than 100 years to
bring students' reading and math skills to grade level.
"The accountability - all the testing,
all the data, all the stuff we do - are meaningless unless we have real
consequences for failure," Spellings said.
(This version CORRECTS that state has already called on districts to fulfill various requirements).)
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