January 11, 2005 Extra Credit
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January 11, 2005

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January 10
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A Year Of Improvement

In light of the recent three-year anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act, today’s Extra Credit looks back at some examples over the past year of how NCLB is improving education for all children, no matter their race, income, or background:

The Sacramento Bee (CA) reported: “Sacramento City Unified School District results showed that 50 percent of the English learners scored at the early advanced or advanced levels. Maria Lopez, Sacramento City Unified spokeswoman, said that the federal No Child Left Behind Act has prompted educators to push all students.” (March 19, 2004)

The Chicago Sun-Times reported: “Kids who won highly prized transfers out of failing Chicago public schools averaged much better reading and math gains during the first year in their new schools --just as drafters of the federal No Child Left Behind Law envisioned, an exclusive analysis indicates. And, contrary to some predictions, moving low-scoring kids to better-performing schools didn’t seem to slow the progress of students in those higher-achieving schools. Even kids ‘left behind’ in struggling schools generally posted better gains in state tests once their peers transferred elsewhere. ‘It’s a win-win-win,’ said Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan. ‘I couldn’t have asked for better results.’ ” (April 25, 2004)

The Washington Post reported: “Across [Maryland], scores improved for black and Hispanic students from a year ago, as well as for students who speak limited English. On the third-grade reading exam, for example, results for Hispanic students went up more than 20 percentage points, for a passing rate of almost 60 percent. Scores for white students increased about 9 percentage points. Black students saw their scores improve substantially on the third- and fifth-grade math tests, with an increase of at least 10 percentage points on each -- compared with an increase of 4 or 5 percentage points for white students. The passing rate for students who speak limited English jumped by 27 percentage points statewide in third-grade reading.” (June 16, 2004)

The Arizona Republic reported: “… Tempe Elementary School District officials say they are excited about the results of a grant that gave three elementary schools tools to rework the reading curriculum. Officials say that new curriculum resulted in students, particularly kindergartners, showing pronounced improvement in their reading. About 50 percent more students were reading at grade level this spring than last fall.” (July 1, 2004)

The Ashville Citizen-Times (NC) reported: “Jones Elementary School teachers got a little emotional after learning their school met new federal education standards for the first time. ‘We screamed and yelled and cried and laughed,’ fourth grade teacher Susan Lifchez said Monday. ‘We were absolutely thrilled.’ Teachers and students at Jones had been anxiously awaiting the news. The school last year failed to meet testing standards under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.” (7-20-04)

In South Dakota, The Associated Press reported: “Alcester-Hudson Elementary was labeled as a school in need of improvement three years ago, but teachers and staff now say it was a blessing in disguise. The school has worked its way off the improvement list set up by the federal No Child Left Behind law. ‘Being put on school improvement was one of the best things that happened to our schools,’ Kathy Johannsen, the test, technology and school improvement coordinator at Alcester, said.” (July 26, 2004)

The Ohio superintendent of public instruction was quoted in The Cincinnati Post as saying: “ ‘We see more students reaching higher levels of achievement on state tests.’ … ‘We see more districts and schools moving out of academic emergency and academic watch into continuous improvement, [effective] and excellent designations. And we see more districts and schools meeting adequate yearly progress goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.’ ” (August 24, 2004)

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported: “In a dramatic improvement, the Philadelphia School District nearly tripled the number of schools that met achievement requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind law, statistics released yesterday show. The success mirrored statewide improvements. Of the district’s 264 schools, 160 met the mark for making ‘adequate yearly progress,’ which is based largely on test scores, graduation and attendance rates. Only 58 were at the standard in the 2003 report. This is the second year that the state has identified schools that need improvement.” (August 25, 2004)

The Providence Journal (RI) reported on improvements made by a Woonsocket, RI elementary school: “The poorest school in a very poor district, Coleman was ranked as a low-performing school that had to offer students a chance to transfer to a better school. It had nowhere to go but up. This year, the school not only met the standards, it blew them away. Coleman’s fourth graders made huge gains in math, far surpassing the state average, and it posted double-digit increases on the English portion of the state test. … It defies those who argue that demography is destiny, that children who grow up poor or black or speaking a foreign language can’t make it.” (October 17, 2004)

Highlighting the achievements of a Covington, KY elementary school, The Cincinnati Enquirer described how: “[Covington, Kentucky’s Ninth District Elementary School] teachers visit the homes of every student who will be in their classes the week before school starts. They meet the kids and the parents. They pass out supplies, make sure everyone knows what the year’s expectations will be and, most important, bring many of the parents into the process as allies in the children's educations.” (November 10, 2004)

The Honolulu Advertiser reported: “Parents are part of the team that has helped elevate Honaunau Elementary School to good standing after years of missing the federal No Child Left Behind Act targets. As the school’s staff members revised their curriculum and teaching methods to help the children achieve the state academic standards, they also called on parents to come to the school to read with their children and learn strategies to continue the learning at home.” (December 16, 2004)

The Naples Daily News (FL) reported on the benefits of NCLB’s free tutoring in Immokalee, Florida: “Tutors arrived at 80 struggling readers’ homes for the first time this year, working around busy parents’ schedules, to improve not only the children’s reading but to help the families. In Immokalee, the federal No Child Left Behind law has helped many. ‘Sometimes I’m in the fields until after 6, so she (the tutor) works around my schedule,’ [one] mother said.” (December 25, 2004).


About Extra Credit
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: 08/15/2007