Tuesday, April 14, 2015

EdTrust: New bill needs rules on how states tackle gaps

Kati Haycock at the Education Trust is praising many parts of the Every Child Achieves Act, which the latest proposal for replacing No Child Left Behind, but calling for major improvement in one area: the rules about identifying and intervening in schools where all students or a major subgroup is not on track to graduate ready for college and career.  In an April 7 statement, Haycock wrote:
But even as we celebrate what is in the bill, we must press for attention to what is not. What’s missing is a clear expectation that student progress toward college- and career- ready graduation matters most in the accountability system, coupled with a clear expectation that any school that is chronically low-performing or consistently underperforming for any group of students be identified for intervention and support...

[I]f federal law allows states — when they decide which schools need attention and action — to turn a blind eye to schools that are not making progress toward college- and career-ready graduation for some or all groups of children, then most states will do exactly that. And the children who attend schools that consistently fail to meet some or all of the state-set goals can have no confidence that anybody will act to protect their futures.
I started to type in "Kentucky would never turn a blind eye," but then I remembered how recently we've done just that.  It's public policy that Kentucky only provides state support to turn around 41 persistently low achieving schools at a time, because we say we can't afford to strengthen the other schools where students need rapid change just as badly.  Similarly, in 2013, when it came time to identify the second cohort of focus schools where specific groups of students had catastrophically low scores, Kentucky just didn't identify the schools with those weaknesses, and funding was again offered as the explanation.  I want to believe we're better, but the evidence doesn't really allow me to deny EdTrust's argument.

So, yes, the Education Trust has a sound point about likely state choices if the federal rules are not clear about identifying and supporting schools where many students are still being left behind. 

Check out Kati Haycock's full statement and yesterday's PrichBlog post on the basics of the bill.  The committee mark-up of the draft legislation begins today.

--Posted by Susan Perkins Weston


  1. only 41 schools at a time out of how many schools in the state? is there an online list of schools ranking them according to achievement?

  2. Roughly 1250, schools, with some complications about how you count K-8 schools and some other grade configurations. I'm not sure there's a list already sorted online, but if you go to http://applications.education.ky.gov/SRC/ there are data sets you can download and sort for yourself. The link is near the upper left, just below the big red apple.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!