WASHINGTON -- When the school year begins next fall, 3,000 to 5,000 schools nationwide probably will be declared "failing" by states, which would make their students eligible for federally paid tutoring or transportation to other public schools, Congress was told Tuesday.
"I think one of the first challenges we have is to let parents know that this is an option," Undersecretary of Education Eugene Hickok said.
Part of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which President Bush signed in January, included a requirement that students in grades three through eight be tested annually in reading and math. For the first time, students in schools where scores don't improve adequately over three or four years would be given federally funded tutoring or allowed to transfer to another public school with most of their transportation costs paid.
Few states have set up the new testing programs -- and won't have to until the 2005-2006 school year. But since 1994, states have been required to test students three times in their school careers, once each in elementary, middle and high school.