Archive for Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hard work behind district’s success on assessments

October 23, 2008

Last week, Eudora USD 491 officials released the district’s remarkable accomplishments on the 2007-2998 state assessment tests. District students performed so well on the test that they not only easily achieved the critical Adequate Yearly Progress needed to avoid consequences from the 2001 No Child Left Behind federal legislation, but earned an astounding 18 of 24 possible standards of excellence available to the district.

The scores are a credit to the hard work and openness to learning of students, the ability of teachers to connect with students, the success of administrators in developing appropriate curriculum and professional faculty and of parents for encouragement and involvement in their children’s education.

The continued success would suggest the district has no concerns with NCLB, which has been the cause of so much handwringing among educational professionals in the past seven years. But that isn’t the case. The baseline performance demanded of the federal legislation is rising at a more rapid rate than even the impressive increases in scores of Eudora students. That expected baseline will continue a steady increase until in 2014 when all students will be expected to test at proficiency, no matter their learning disabilities, behavioral problems and English speaking abilities.

That’s how the law reads now, but the re-authorization of NCLB is currently stalled in Congress and a one-year automatic renewal in place. A new Congress and a new administration will very likely write out its impossible demands.

Still, Eudora’s achievement demonstrates the progress districts can make when it is demanded. The district has shown if realistic goals are set, it can achieve them.

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