Local News

Schools Will Have To Prove Themselves Before Receiving Federal Funding

Posted December 14, 2001

— A Congressional committee has hammered out a new education bill that gives schools an additional $13 billion. But folks on Capitol Hill want accountability in return.

Under the bill, states must:

  • Test third- through eighth-grade students annually in math and reading.
  • Lay out a 12-year plan to get all students reading and computing at their grade level.
  • Give billingual education more money based upon the number of kids in a district.
  • Give more money to the education of low-income and underachieving students.
  • Give local school districts more control over how they can spend federal funds.
  • There will be consequences for schools that do not show progress.

  • Mirroring North Carolina's ABCs program, students that fail two years in a row would get remedial help -- tutoring or transportation to a new school.
  • Schools which fail after four straight years could find their staff and curriculum replaced.
  • Education researchers said schools that already struggle under the state's ABCs plan should not fear the change.

    "In North Carolina, where we've really embraced these schools and worked on turning these schools around. We're going to see more required actions that school systems and schools are going to have to take if they continue to perform at low levels," senior education advisor J.B. Buxton said.

    In exchange for more flexibility in spending federal money, states must produce an annual report card comparing scores, which is something North Carolina already does with its ABCs program.

    There is also $1 billion included for President Bush's reading program, but no mandatory funding for special education students.

    Congress is expected to pass the bill and the president hopes to sign it by the end of next week.

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