No Child Left Behind requires states to recognize schools that close achievement gaps between groups of students or schools that exceed academic achievement goals. The following are excerpts from a recent article in the Tri City Herald highlighting Washington state schools that are closing the achievement gap:
“Elementary schools in Kennewick, Pasco and Richland are being rewarded financially for narrowing the achievement gap between minority and white students. State Superintendent Terry Bergeson on Friday announced $736,000 in cash will be awarded to 55 schools and 12 districts that showed continuous academic improvement by minority students.”
“‘They are making important strides in closing the performance gap between white students and their minority peers, which is an essential focus of our work in public education,’ Bergeson said in announcing the awards.
“The money will come from a special set-aside of federal Title I money given to states by the U.S. Department of Education through the No Child Left Behind Act. It marked the first time Washington was awarded money for Title I schools, which serve high-poverty areas.
“At Westgate, Principal Dorothy Fanning said her school has logged an improvement in the achievement gap since the 2001-02 school year. The school, which houses the district's English as a Second Language program, has about 400 students. Minorities comprise 48 percent of the population, and Fanning said 50 percent speak a language other than English at home.”
“The results [at Westgate] have been significant. In 2001-02, 25 percent of Hispanic fourth-graders passed the WASL while 34 percent of the overall population received passing marks. By 2003-04, 78.9 percent of Hispanics passed, while 70 percent of the overall population achieved as highly.”
“To be eligible for the award, schools must have received Title I funds each of the past three years; must have made adequate yearly progress in two of the past three years; and must have reduced the WASL achievement gap in one or more subjects — reading, writing or mathematics.”
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