School standards

Monday, November 29, 2004

Local school administrators say dealing with state and federal tests and accountability systems for educators and students can be daunting. The latest scores from annual performance reports show many districts haven't given this particular standard much attention, because there are no consequences for poor performance -- yet.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the APR scores recently. The report evaluates 12 performance standards that are part of the Missouri School Improvement Program.

Area administrators say they glanced at the reports but quickly turned their attention to more important matters, like meeting the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

School administrators and district patrons should be concerned that there are wide gaps in this overall review of proficiency, even though all the local districts met the minimum APR requirements.

Of all the local districts, the Jackson School District stood out by earning a perfect score on its APR this year. The district should be commended for its accomplishment. Only about 17 percent of Missouri schools achieved that level of recognition.

Just meeting the minimum APR standards soon won't be acceptable. The state's accreditation system will join with NCLB standards in two years, which means that schools that fall short of the standards could run the risk of losing accreditation or face a state takeover.

Students can only benefit when their schools are meeting most or all of the standards set for them.

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