A new report card released by the Iowa Department of Education shows nearly half of Iowa schools aren’t making the grade when it comes to No Child Left Behind. State educators say this year’s progress report is proof that the grading scale is what needs to change.
“We would like relief from the law in its current state,” says Iowa Education Director Brad Buck.
Buck says the report card should take into account more than just test scores. Federal guidelines require students to be 94% proficient in math and reading.
“I think what we’d be looking at, could there be more emphasis on student growth?” says Buck.
The Urbandale School district made the watch list this year. The district has one school at every level that is in need of assistance or on watch status.
“The goal is to help kids learn and when we do that really effectively, we’ll get off the list,” says Urbandale Superintendent Dr. Doug Stilwell.
It happened at Karen Acres. In the last year, teachers and administrators focused on creating a classroom environment where every student takes an active role in learning.
“I think the best points about No Child Left Behind is that it has forced schools to pay attention more so than they every did in the past,” says Stilwell.
“The notion that one size fits all for federal guidelines just doesn’t work,” says Phil Roeder, Des Moines Schools Spokesperson.
Of the district’s nearly 60 schools, only a handful actually met the guidelines.
“Regardless of what No Child Left Behind or the report card may or may not say about a school or the district, the fact that every student in our school has shown improvement is enormous,” says Roeder.
The state applied for a federal waiver two years ago, but it was denied based on Iowa`s model for teacher evaluation. Buck says the department is now considering whether to apply again.