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State leaders have joined local educators in calling for No Child Left Behind reform now that a large majority of schools in Virginia have failed.
The state Department of Educations last week released results showing that only 38 percent of the schools in Virginia reached “adequate yearly progress” benchmarks.
Those levels include more than 86 percent of students passing rate in reading and 85 passing in math.
None of the three local school divisions met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) benchmark. Only four school divisions out of 132 in Virginia passed as a whole.
In the Twin Counties, three Carroll schools managed to top the required test results in math and reading — Fancy Gap, Oakland and St. Paul.
None of Galax’s three schools made AYP, and in Grayson, four out of seven schools did not make AYP.
Of the Carroll County schools that didn’t score high enough, most of them were off by only one or two of the 29 benchmarks, said county Schools Superintendent Greg Smith.
“I would say that the schools that met the AYP benchmarks — Oakland, Fancy Gap and St. Paul, as all of our schools, they are high performing schools and did an excellent job last year,” he said.
The AYP benchmarks have continued to rise on their way to require 100 percent of students passing. Smith noted that the increases means its increasingly difficult for schools to do that.
Three of seven Grayson County schools met AYP benchmarks.
For the third year in a row, Baywood and Fairview elementary schools passed all testing criteria to achieve AYP.
Also achieving AYP was Grayson County High School, which did not meet all the benchmarks in 2010.
Four schools — Independence Elementary, Independence Middle, Fries School and Grayson Highlands — did not meet all federal benchmarks, though they came close.
Of the 29 AYP elements required for federally-mandated success, Independence Elementary students passed 27; Independence Middle, 28; Fries School, 25; and Grayson Highlands, 23.
Galax School Superintendent Bill Sturgill said educators had not yet discussed the AYP results.
Local educators have been upfront in their desire to see changes to the federal education initiative.
No less than state public schools Superintendent Patricia Wright recently reacted that “the 10-year-old accountability system established under No Child Left Behind has outlived its usefulness and should be overhauled,” after the latest rounds of scores came out.
She wants the state Board of Education to ask the federal government for a waiver from the “increasingly unrealistic requirements,” according to a news release.
“Accountability is not advanced by arbitrary rules and benchmarks that misidentify schools,” Wright said. “During the coming weeks, I will begin a discussion with the state board on creating a new model for measuring yearly progress that maintains high expectations for student achievement, recognizes growth... and accurately identifies schools most in need of improvement.”