Local news

Idaho schools stall under federal law


BOISE – Student progress remained stalled in Idaho under the federal No Child Left Behind law last year, with about two-thirds of public schools meeting targets, according to test results released Friday by the state Department of Education.

The agency released results even as Idaho tries to move away from the law’s benchmarks and adopt a new five-star rating system for schools. Officials released school scores under the new scale too, though it has yet to win approval from the U.S. Department of Education.

Idaho is among a handful of states with pending requests for a waiver to get out from under No Child Left Behind, which was approved under President George W. Bush and requires schools to have all students proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Under the law, about 60 percent of Idaho schools met adequate yearly progress during the 2011-’12 academic year. The results are about the same as the previous year, when 62 percent of public schools met the targets and mirrored the previous year.

The percentage remains stagnant even after Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna decided last year the state would no longer boost proficiency targets under No Child Left Behind, as foreseen by the law, nor would it punish the schools that don’t meet these higher testing goals.

Under Luna’s proposed new system, which does measure student academic growth, 301 of Idaho’s 648 schools were ranked as four-star schools while another 78 earned the scale’s highest ranking, a five star, officials with the state Department of Education said.

The results of the two scales can be confusing when compared side by side because a school deemed failing under No Child Left Behind could be ranked as a four-star or five-star school under Idaho’s proposed new system.

That’s what happened in Challis, where the town’s junior-senior high school didn’t make adequate yearly progress, or AYP, under No Child Left Behind but was ranked as a four-star school under the new scale, the results show.

A Riggins elementary school in central Idaho had similarly mismatching results.


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