The Following article, excerpted below, appeared in the Mobile Register (4/17/06):
"The public schools in Mobile County have made considerable gains recently teaching math and reading to minority students as well as those classified as low-income, according to a soon-to-be-released study by the Mobile Area Education Foundation…."
"In fact, the study shows that Mobile County students — especially low-income and black students — are outscoring their counterparts in Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.
"'What we're doing is closing the gap and raising the bar,' said Carolyn Akers, executive director of the community-based foundation, which supports and works to improve the school system…."
"In accordance with a goal of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Mobile County is shrinking the achievement gap between low-income and other students as well as the gap between minority and white students…."
"No Child Left Behind requires that all students perform at or above grade level by 2014.
"'I think we're on a steady track toward 2014,' Akers said. 'You have to take steps to get there. The scores show that we're doing that.'…"
"Rhonda Cotten, Baldwin school improvement supervisor, said No Child Left Behind has emphasized areas that the school system needs to improve upon, including its teaching of low-income and minority students…."
"'Before No Child Left Behind, Baldwin County always did very well,' Cotten said. 'However, No Child Left Behind requires that we look a little deeper into the subgroups and identify students who are not making the same amount of progress other students are making.'
"She said that while No Child Left Behind puts an extra burden on teachers and students, it has required the school system to work more diligently with those subgroups, and that's a good thing…."
"Forty-one of Mobile County's poorer schools were recognized by the state in October for having strong test scores in various demographic groups. Mobile County had many more schools receiving that honor — which includes extra money — than the other five systems studied by the Mobile Area Education Foundation…."
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