Every Child Left Behind
Ohanian Comment: Read these statistics of not measuring up to NCLB and realize it is not paranoid to think that NCLB is out to destroy public education.
Imagine a world 10 years from now where every single K-12 student is performing proficiently on state tests.
It's a nice thought, but is it possible?
Unfortunately, no, say many Weld County school district administrators who are working toward that goal but ultimately failing to get there. That failure means the districts aren't meeting the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which aims to have every student scoring proficiently on state tests by 2014.
Many Weld County school officials say 100 percent proficiency for every student is a goal that every district should strive for. But in reality, it's impossible to meet.
"We are getting better, but are we going to get to 100 percent? Not likely," said Linda Gleckler, deputy superintendent for Greeley-Evans School District 6. "We believe it's statistical impossibility to get there."
Most Weld districts have not met the requirements for two years, meaning they have to send a letter to every parent in the district child explaining which areas students did not perform proficiently. Those letters are expected to go to district parents at the end of November or beginning of December.
In Weld, eight of the 12 school districts failed to improve test scores enough to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind. The districts that met the requirements were the four smallest in the county.
Platte Valley Re-7, Briggsdale Re-10J, Prairie Re-11J and Pawnee Re-12 districts reached their goals.
This is the same trend happening in Colorado where no district with more than 5,400 students has met the requirements. The districts that are behind educate about 80 percent of the state's schoolchildren. Some of the districts such as Denver's Cherry Creek boast some of the highest test scores in the state. Even Windsor Re-4, which consistently tops Weld County in test scores, failed to meet the requirements.
"If we were the only district that hadn't met the requirements, then I would be discouraged," said Laura Richardson, the district's director of instruction. "But there are many who didn't. ... You can't miss one target. There is no room for error."
The problem many larger districts are facing in the state is the number of subgroups enrolled. Subgroups are groups of students identified by certain characteristics such as special education students, English language learners, poor children or Latinos. Many of these children have historically performed poorly on tests and have to make more progress than the rest of the students to meet the same standards. A district must have at least 30 students to make a subgroup.
The problem becomes even bigger when groups are continually changing.
In the Fort Lupton Re-8 school district, 38 percent of the students are English language learners. That group seems destined to fail under the law's requirements because each time a student does become proficient, he or she is moved out of the group, said Ranelle Lang executive director of learning services for the district.
"You can't show improvement. When they improve, they're not in the group anymore," she said. "It's like you're always looking at the milk and not the cream."
Gleckler said District 6 will continue to work toward the goal but doesn't think it will ever get there.
"I don't think we're ever going to be a grade level for every kid," Gleckler said. "We can get really really close. But every kid? No."
Windsor Tribune editor Julie Piotraschke contributed to this report.
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES