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February 9, 2004, Extra Credit
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February 9, 2004
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 February 6
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"A Success Story for the Rural Schools"

Following are excerpts from a recent article in the Havre Daily News in Montana:

"Thirteen area schools that were too small to be evaluated in August have all met new federal education standards, according to a list released Wednesday by the state Office of Public Instruction.

"The state's 176 smallest schools ... were evaluated by a team of OPI officials in December. The officials used a three-step evaluation process to determine if the schools met the standards of No Child Left Behind, President Bush's sweeping education policy.

"No Child Left Behind requires all schools that receive federal funding to make 'adequate yearly progress' each year. In most schools, that is determined by examining reading and math test scores, attendance, high school completion rates and test participation among 11 categories of students.

"But in some schools—those with fewer than 20 students in the grade being tested—the small number of students means reporting students' test scores could reveal individual students' scores, violating the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Another reason small schools must be evaluated differently is that the federal formulas used to evaluate adequate yearly progress from test scores don't work with fewer than 20 students, said Joe Lamson, OPI communications director."

"'I know that they've worked hard to meet all of those standards and we're very proud of them for doing that,' said Carol Elliot, Blaine County superintendent of schools. 'I guess this is a success story for the rural schools.'"

"Overall, 175 of 176 of small schools made the grade, said Al McMilin, accreditation specialist and one of the No Child Left Behind coordinators at OPI."

"McMilin said he does not believe the small schools were held to a less stringent standard."

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 08/13/2013