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Rating system complicated

June 12, 2012
The Leader Herald

So much for "schools in need of improvement." That category for schools failing to meet standards soon will be a thing of the past in New York as the education system again comes up with another way to measure schools' progress.

New York and seven other states recently were granted waivers for federal No Child Left Behind standards, allowing the state to create new designations and standards. The designations will be called "priority" schools, "focus" schools and "reward" schools.

Local districts will be using the new ratings method.

By the end of the school year, the Gloversville Enlarged School District no longer will be designated "in need of improvement." Instead, the district will fall into one of the other categories.

The state Education Department says the federal waiver releasing New York from No Child Left Behind will:

Allow for school and district effectiveness to be measured based on state assessments of English language arts and math.

Enable the state to designate "focus" districts that will be targeted for additional support as they work to improve low performing schools.

Provide districts with the flexibility to redirect resources to implement school reform models in the state's lowest-performing 5 percent of schools.

Give school districts more flexibility to implement effective extended learning time programs in collaboration with community partners.

Double the funding that identified focus districts must set aside to support parental engagement and promote community involvement in low-performing schools.

We're eager to see how the new method works, but we wish parents luck in trying to understand it.

The designations we're hearing now and in recent years seem complicated. We wonder whether anyone besides the educators and bureaucrats truly comprehends the ratings, categories and goals, and what they involve.



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