The Following article, excerpted below, appeared in the Washington Post (4/4/06):
"I have spent the last year-and-a-half searching out schools that are getting great results under very difficult conditions. These are schools where many of the children are poor but where just about all of them either meet or exceed state standards. These schools have little trouble making AYP. They may have a handle on doing it 'better.'…"
"The work they are doing is difficult, but they have approached it so thoughtfully and comprehensively that they make it look easy…."
"Rock Hall, on the Eastern Shore in Kent County (Md.), has about 200 students, 60 percent of whom meet the federal standards for free and reduced-price meals. Seventy-five percent of the students are white, 25 percent African American, and 21 percent of the students are identified as having disabilities.
"Last year, 100 percent of the fourth-graders met state reading standards…and 100 percent of the third-graders met state math standards…."
" 'To get the results we have gotten, you have to begin with a caring staff, and they need to know a great deal. My teachers are highly trained in reading instruction. They go to conferences and learn the most effective teaching methods to teach reading using motor skills, sight, sound and touch. My teachers reach out and use all the senses, all the talents.' [Principal Bess Engle]…"
"Located next door to a federal housing project, Centennial Place (Atlanta, Ga.) has about 520 students, 65 percent of whom qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Two nearby homeless shelters provide a steady stream of children. Ninety-five percent of the students are African American. About 8 percent of the students are identified as having disabilities.
"For the past few years, all but a very small handful of children have met state standards, and in 2005, half exceeded standards in reading and 20 percent exceeded them in math…."
" 'Georgia's standards are about to be made more rigorous, which means making AYP may be a little more difficult. I am all for that. I think our children are up to the challenge, and our teachers are too.' [Principal Cynthia Kuhlman]…"
"Frankford (Del.), which is not far from the road Washingtonians take when they drive to the Delaware beaches, has 450 students, 75 percent of whom meet the federal requirements for free and reduced-price meals. The school is roughly evenly divided among white, African American and Latino students. About 12 percent of the students in kindergarten through fifth grade are identified as having disabilities.
"In the fifth grade last year, 100 percent of the students met state reading standards (25 percent exceeded them) and 95 percent of all students met state math standards, including 81 percent of students with disabilities (34 percent exceeded them)…."
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"Education Aims for Higher Standards"
The Following editorial, excerpted below, appeared in the Pasadena Star News (CA) (4/3/06):
"There's a lot of good news coming out of education.
"First, almost 90 percent of freshmen high schoolers in the state passed the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE)…"
"Also, a report out of the California State University (CSU) system found more incoming freshmen better prepared in math and English than those of the past few years…."
"The high-school exit exam and preparation for the test throughout the high-school years will aid in increasing the number of students who are ready to do college work upon graduation.
"Keeping higher standards at all levels of K-12 through state mandates and the federal No Child Left Behind Act is working. Future graduates should be ready and able to handle college and/or career paths."
"Mastering the Basics"
The Following editorial, excerpted below, appeared in the Columbus Dispatch (OH) (4/3/06):
"Americans shouldn't get too exercised about a study showing that some schools are spending more time on reading and math, at the expense of other subjects.
"U.S. culture long has revered the three R's for good reason: they are the foundation on which all other learning depends. They should be the top priority.
"A survey by the Center on Education Policy, which tracks the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, showed that between a fourth and a third of schools have cut back on social studies, science and the arts in order to spend more time on reading and math…."
"There could be no more valid measure of a child's prospects for future success than the ability to do grade-level reading and math, so the focus on those subjects should continue, especially at the elementary level…."
"Students who have mastered reading and the basics of math in elementary school are far better prepared to explore whatever fields might capture their imaginations."
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