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July 30, 2004 Extra Credit
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July 30, 2004

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"This is Music to Our Ears" NCLB Brings Improved Performance to Illinois Students in Math and Reading; Achievement Gap Is Closing

The following are excerpts from articles highlighting how No Child Left Behind’s focus on raising the achievement of traditionally low-performing groups of students is working to close the achievement gap in Illinois:

"Illinois students have made gains in math and reading, and the achievement gap between white and minority students has continued to narrow, according to this year's standardized test results. The No Child Left Behind Act appears to be making a mark on student achievement in Illinois, state Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller said Thursday at the release of the state scores."

"‘The spotlight has been shone and flashed on improving achievement’ of low-performing students, [Schiller] said. Schools have responded with changing teaching methods, scheduling, support services and more to help these underserved groups[.]" –
(7-29-04)

"Educators celebrated numbers that suggest their hard-fought efforts to improve performance among their most vulnerable students are finally starting to pay off--especially among Latino grade-school students, most of whom are now passing reading and math tests. ‘This is music to our ears,’ said Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan, who said he hopes the city's overall gains will outpace the state's. ‘It's exhilarating, but I'm not surprised. This is just another sign we are heading in the right direction.’"

"State schools Supt. Robert Schiller said the results are a direct result of the federal reform, which forced schools to be accountable for the achievement of specific groups of students--black, Latino, special-education, low-income and those with limited English skills. … The No Child Left Behind reforms demand better results from low-achieving students and force schools to pour more resources into educating them."

"These changes may have paid off for the state's youngest Latino children, who improved over four years in every grade and in every subject on the ISATs. For Latino 5th graders, the percentage passing math tests jumped a whopping 26 percentage points--from 41 to 67 percent meeting or exceeding standards." – (7-30-04)

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