AYP not good way to judge schools

Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2010

By Susan Scott / Jemison

Dear Editor,

The positive thing about No Child Left Behind is that it is requiring systems, schools and teachers to concentrate on “moving” all students up, not just the white, general education majority.

Our current administration is reviewing the legislation. Changes are coming before the 2014 deadline for the absolutely ridiculous 100-percent grade level requirement.

Also, please understand that a school can make Adequate Yearly Progress and yet have scores that are actually lower than a school that did not make AYP. Doesn’t make sense? You’re absolutely right, it doesn’t.

However, taking the special education subgroup for example, if a school does not have a certain percentage/number of its students in special education, that subcategory is not even considered in its AYP formula. The difference between a “failing” school and a “passing” one can be one special ed student. The line is that thin.

I know of one Chilton County school that made AYP and does not have any students in a special education program. Why should that school be extolled for making AYP when another school with many students in that subcategory is criticized?

When comparing schools, AYP is not a good indicator. It does not compare “apples to apples.”

We need to make sure we have all the facts about each and every school before we brag on one or make snide comments about another.

Our school system as a whole did not make AYP. That should be our biggest concern.

Susan Scott, Jemison