08/03/04 — Wayne County School Board to protest the No Child Left Behind program

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Wayne County School Board to protest the No Child Left Behind program

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 3, 2004 2:00 PM

Disturbed by some of the results that a federal law is producing in Wayne County public schools, the school board has decided to lodge a protest.

The concern is that the federal No Child Left Behind law is causing more schools to be labeled as not meeting the standards.

The law targets up to 10 subgroups in a school to measure what it calls "adequate yearly progress." These range from measuring the school as a whole, to such subgroups as white students, black students and students with disabilities. If there are 40 students in a category, the school counts it as a subgroup.

If even one group does not make adequate yearly progress, then the entire school does not meet the standard.

Should that happen for two years, parents receive a letter allowing them to transfer their children to other schools, with transportation provided. This year, fewer than half of the county's schools made the standard, but it was an increase over last year.

This year's schools measured well across the board, school officials. One subgroup, however, brought down the numbers. That group was students with disabilities.

Board member John Grantham said he was concerned about that.

"It caused 10 out of 15 schools not to make 'adequate yearly progress,'" he said of the latest scores.

The board supported a motion by member George Moye to seek a waiver on the number required to be in subgroups tested. Moye suggested if the subgroups were larger, it could help at the local level.

"Other states are doing it," Moye said. "Florida has subgroups of 100. I believe Texas has 300.

"That could make a big difference, even if we could go to 60 or 75."

He suggested a letter be written encouraging the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to lobby for the waiver.

The board also approved a suggestion by Grantham that a letter be sent to the U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige about the affect No Child Left Behind is having on schools in Wayne County.