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  • LETTER OF THE LAW

    Filed at 4:37 am under by dcobranchi

    LETTER OF THE LAW A Los Angeles school which has shown remarkable improvement in test scores over a three year period was singled out by Gov. Gray Davis in last year’s State of the State Address. Unfortunately, this year it’s been labeled a “failing school” because of a quirk in the definition:

    Under the No Child Left Behind Act, a school may not drop the failing label unless it has met state growth targets two years in a row for the entire school and significant subgroups — such as Latino students and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.

    In Melvin’s case, the school overall posted a 79-point gain in 1999-2000, more than six times its growth target of 12. Then in 2000-01, the school improved its academic ranking by six points, two points below the target. But in 2001-02, it again made a huge gain of 45 points, whereas its growth target was 8.

    It was the small drop-off in 2000-01 that caused Melvin to be labeled a failing school.

    This really is non-sensical. There ought to be some kind of signal averaging in the law, so that a school which vastly exceeds the target one year only to narrowly miss it the next is not penalized.

    UPDATE: An Atlanta school faces almost precisely the same situation– all the way down to praise from the Governor (of Georgia, of course).

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