Local News

State School Board Heads To Washington To Discuss No Child Left Behind

Posted March 31, 2004 2:48 a.m. EST

— Officials said less than half of all North Carolina public schools met the

No Child Left Behind

requirement in the last school year. The State Board of Education said changes need to be made, not necessarily with schools, but with the legislation.

No Child Left Behind is in its second year, but when schools do not make the cut, Hodge Road Elementary principal Jamee Lynch said the legislation fails to tell the whole story.

"I don't think it tells much of the story at all, and that's the frustration," she said.

Eighty-five percent of the students at Hodge Road Elementary in Knightdale are testing at grade level, but not enough students with learning disabilities passed. Officials said if one group fails, the whole school fails.

"We need to have some wiggle room, if you will, with the standards and expectations as it relates to subgroups," said Howard Lee, chairman of the state School Board.

Members of the State Board of Education boarded a bus Wednesday bound for Washington D.C. to talk with state lawmakers and the author of No Child Left Behind about the struggle.

"It's an all or nothing proposition," state superintendent Dr. Michael Ward said. "The school that miss its targets by a fraction of a point with one subgroup of children is treated no differently under this legislation than the school that misses it by a mile with every subgroup of students."

Hodge Road and 18 other Wake County Elementary schools are considered Title I schools. The federal funding they receive is tied to sanctions that go into effect if schools fail under No Child Left Behind for two years in a row, regardless of how well they do under the state ABC program.

Sanctions such as allowing student transfers would go into effect if all subgroups are not at grade level this year.

Ward would like to ask the federal government if North Carolina can use its ABC program instead. He said it is already a proven model of accountability.