Likely Escapes Penalties on Report Cards
Gongwer News Service, August 10, 2004
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report cards for elementary and middle schools were out on time
under federal law. The high school report cards will not be. But
officials told the State Board of Education that the current
conflict in schedules should protect the state from any
sanctions for not meeting the deadline.
Among the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act,
every state must provide report cards on each of its schools and
those report cards must be released before the beginning of the
The report cards for the elementary and middle schools were
released last week, which meets the federal requirement. But,
because the report cards must be based on the state's
standardized test, the high school report cards will not be
ready until later in the fall, said state Chief Academic Officer
Jeremy Hughes at the board meeting Tuesday.
"This is not our fault so we will not be facing any penalties,"
Mr. Hughes said.
The state school code requires that the Michigan Educational
Assessment Program high school tests be administered at the end
of the school year and requires that schools be given time to
review and appeal results on the tests. They also must be given
time to review and appeal grades given on the state report
Mr. Hughes said with the time needed to score the tests, create
the report cards and complete any protest periods could push
report card releases for the high schools to as late as early
The department has asked for changes to the school code to allow
the high school test to come earlier in the year, but so far
have not bee successful in pushing for the change, though a
package of bills (SB 729, SB 730, SB 731, SB 732) has been
introduced to give the department more authority in
administering the MEAP tests.
Mr. Hughes said the state is also working on new measures for
the schools it was not able to grade this year. Under policy set
by the board, groups of fewer than 30 people do not count toward
adequate yearly progress under the federal law. While the rule
was intended to apply to subgroups of children within schools,
it applies to entire classes at some schools.
"We're needing to work on, this year, some particular measures
for these extra small schools," Mr. Hughes said, noting the NCLB
requires that all schools receive an AYP designation. One of the
considerations, he said, is to look at multiple years of test
scores until the total number of tests taken exceeds the
30-student limit for a group.
RESTRUCTURING: With 62 schools required to implement a
restructuring plan because they once again did not make AYP,
department officials are working now to build a better database
of what those schools are actually doing - and not doing. "We
need to have data in order to better understand what's happening
in the schools we work with," said Yvonne Caamal-Canul, director
of school improvement for the state.
She said her office was developing a portfolio on each of the
schools to determine what services they would need.
She said the department is also working even more with
intermediate school districts to develop services to assist the
foundering schools. "We just will never have enough staff to
cover the needs of the field, so we need to partner with the
ISDs," Ms. Caamal-Canul said, noting that the area where the
most struggling schools are concentrated is gradually expanding
across the state.
"It's not just urban and we need to work with all those areas,"
CERTIFIED TEACHERS: Sparked by a report that some public school
academies in the state have only about half of their teachers
certified, the board asked department officials to pull together
a report on how many teachers across the state are not
Members feared that, with coming requirements that all teachers
be "highly qualified" under the state law, those uncertified
teachers would not qualify and so would either be out of work or
would have to be shifted out of the classroom, depending on the
provisions of union contracts.
Mr. Hughes said the Registry of Educational Personnel, a
database kept by the Center for Educational Performance and
Information, should be up to date by October. He said he had
recently sent letters to a number of school districts pointing
out that their information in the database was not current and
that they risked losing 5 percent of their school aid if they
did not provide the required information.
The federal NCLB requires that all teachers be highly qualified
or be out of the classroom before school starts for the 2006-07
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