Daily Breeze - 5 local schools risk being left behind
- 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
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.
Five local schools would be targets for a potential state takeover,
since they have missed the federal achievement mark for at least five
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
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
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
Staff writer Paul Clinton contributed to this article.