School Districts Fail To Make Federal Progress
by Mark Hornbeck, The Detroit News, January 13, 2005
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LANSING -- State
education officials will announce today that 109 Michigan school
districts -- about one in every five across the state -- failed
to meet federal progress standards this year.
That means students in those districts did not reach goals on
state test scores, graduation or attendance rates in at least
two school levels. A district that failed to make adequate
progress in middle school, for example, must make the grade in
elementary and high schools.
Districts that remain on the list for two years will be required
to draw up improvement and parental involvement plans and could
face sanctions beginning in four years ranging from replacing
staff to abolishing the district.
"Most of our districts meet the standards," said Martin Ackley,
spokesman for the state Education Department. "We still have
work to do in some districts."
This will be the state's first report on school districts that
meet so-called adequate yearly progress standards set up by
President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. Past reports have
focused on individual school buildings.
The state will release today the list of districts that met the
standards and those that did not, along with a brief explanation
of why they fell short. Among the possible reasons: Low overall
test scores in math, reading or both; fewer than 95 percent of
students in the district took the exams; ethnic subgroups fared
poorly on state tests; attendance rates in elementary and middle
schools were below 85 percent; graduation rates in high school
were below 80 percent.
"It's more difficult for a district to make adequate yearly
progress than it is for a building," said Mary Alice Galloway,
assistant to the chief academic officer for the state Department
The state has 557 traditional school districts, 216 charter
schools and 57 intermediate districts. Most of the 109 districts
that failed to meet the federal standards are traditional
districts, but a handful may be charter schools with more than
one building and intermediates, Ackley said.
Consequences for districts that don't shape up in four years
• Removing schools from the districts that don't make adequate
progress and providing some other kind of governance.
• Appointing a receiver to administer the district.
• Replacing staff or moving authority from building staff to
• Allowing students to transfer to another district.
• Eliminating or restructuring the district.
What about your district?
Information about local school districts that did and did
not make adequate yearly progress will be available online at 10
a.m. today. Parents can check the status of their school
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