During a recent Emery School Board meeting, Jon Crawford did a presentation on the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act that was recently enacted by Congress. This action put stringent requirements and qualifications for schools in the education of the country's students.
When this education reform measure was taken, Congress committed to assisting local schools with the funding necessary to meet the requirements of the Act. The actual funding fell short by $9 billion. School systems around the country, and in Emery County, are struggling to meet the requirements.
The federal legislation has mandated that all schools meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards with every student, in regards to test scores, participation, and rates of graduation for high schools and attendance for elementary and junior high schools. There are 45 target areas in the criteria that each school must meet (AYP), to succeed yearly. If a school lacks only one of the criteria, that school is deemed "failing."
According to statistics from Representative Jim Matheson, "78 out of the 83 schools in Utah's Jordan School District will be designated as failing schools." The numbers are even more questionable for rural schools that do not have the resources and funding of Utah's largest school district.
No Child Left Behind is a five year program, with extensive reports due at the completion of each year. With the first years report due any day, the attendance figures are still in question. The findings are that nearly every school district in the state tracks attendance in a different manner. So the attendance portion of the report is in doubt for accuracy.
These reports are sent to a state data warehouse for compilation. Then the results are distributed to the states and on to the individual school districts. The districts have 30 days to review the results for accuracy. In the event that an error is found, the district can appeal that portion of the report.
At the end of the 30 day review by the districts, the information is returned to the State Office of Education where it will find its way onto the State Office's website for the public.
Crawford also informed the board that the Utah Performance Assessment System report will be available soon. This report is Utah's attempt to produce the same results of competency in students. This report breaks down student performance with regards to state curriculum and core tests in grades, three, five, eight and 11.
U-PASS gives the percentage of students in those grades who perform at median level or greater. Parents can contact the schools for information on the report. The upcoming report, due in December, will be the state's first. The completion of this report will release schools from the responsibility of doing a report card on themselves.