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Daily Breeze - 5 local schools risk being left behind

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  • Brent
    Today is Wednesday, February 28, 2007 Originally published Wednesday, February 28, 2007 Updated Wednesday, February 28, 2007 5 local schools risk being left
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2007
      Today is Wednesday, February 28, 2007
      Originally published Wednesday, February 28, 2007
      Updated Wednesday, February 28, 2007

      5 local schools risk being left behind
      Campuses are coming up short against federal guidelines, according to
      a study, and could face a state takeover.
      By Naush Boghossian
      Staff Writer

      California schools face an uphill battle in their effort to meet
      federally mandated achievement goals, with some 700 schools facing
      reorganization for repeated noncompliance with the No Child Left
      Behind Act, a study being released today says.

      The Center on Education Policy, based in Washington, found that the
      number of schools facing reorganization soared 42 percent from 2005-06
      to 2006-07. The reason, officials said, is the inability of many
      schools to overcome "program improvement" status despite repeated
      efforts to raise student test scores.
      Diana's Restaurant

      Five local schools would be targets for a potential state takeover,
      since they have missed the federal achievement mark for at least five
      consecutive years.

      Los Angeles Unified's Peary Middle School in Gardena, White Middle
      School in Carson and Wilmington Middle School are in the fifth year.
      Also at the five-year mark are Leuzinger High School in Lawndale and
      Lennox Middle School.

      Averting a possible takeover by the California Department of
      Education, Banning High School established smaller schools within the
      3,500-student campus in the fall. The school is on the list, but met
      federal benchmarks for the 2005-06 year. A second year will move
      Banning off the list.

      "I think it's difficult to get out, but not impossible," said
      Principal Janis Fries-Martinez, whose school, Francis Polytechnic High
      School, faces mandatory reorganization because it has been a
      program-improvement campus for five years. "It's rigorous and the
      standards they've set are important, but I think that the benchmarks
      just don't give you any leeway. If you're making growth, that should
      play a part somewhere versus a high-benchmark target."

      Passed by Congress in 2001, the act makes states, school districts and
      individual schools more accountable for student achievement by setting
      annual progress goals. With a target of having all students proficient
      by 2013-14, the act mandates escalating assistance programs --
      including taking over or even closing schools that repeatedly miss
      their target.

      In 2005-06, Los Angeles Unified accounted for 20 percent of all
      program-improvement schools in California -- the most of any district,
      the report states. Even as the district's number of schools on the
      list rose, its share of such schools statewide fell last year to 14
      percent. And the district still remains at the top of the state list.

      Among California schools, 207 have missed progress goals for seven
      consecutive years and 10 have missed them for eight years. Just 10
      schools made sufficient gains to overcome program-improvement status
      last year.

      The number of program-improvement schools in Los Angeles Unified has
      been increasing steadily, with 294 campuses now facing sanctions,
      officials said. Of those, 111 are in the first year of program
      improvement, 33 in the second year, 53 are in year three, 18 are in
      year four and 79 in year five.

      Program improvement schools must meet their goals for two consecutive
      years in order to overcome the designation.

      District officials said two dozen schools are eligible to exit program
      improvement, which will be determined when API scores are released
      next year.

      Staff writer Paul Clinton contributed to this article.
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