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 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.
[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.
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