District Administration - May 2008 - (Page 20)

BRIEFINGS InsidetheLaw IN A SEEMINGLY CONCERTED effort both to demystify the web of incomparable data from state to state on dropout rates and to address a major flaw in the No Child Left Behind law, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings last month announced plans for a single federal formula to calculate graduation and dropout figures to be used by all states. The requirement, experts say, would be one of the most sweeping regulatory actions ever taken by an education secretary, because it would affect official statistics issued by all 50 states and each of the nation’s 14,000 public high schools. By Zach Miners New Dropout Formula on the Horizon who entered the school four years earlier. The formula would strengthen the goals of NCLB, which requires states and high schools to report graduation rates to the federal government. Most states have heretofore adopted their own formulas, which often understate dropout rates. Spellings said the new data will be made public so that people nationwide can compare how students of every race, background and income level are performing. An accurate and consistent graduation rate calculation could also impact how well schools stack up from a legal standpoint, as the announcement of the proposal was made shortly after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a classaction lawsuit against the School District of Palm Beach County (Fla.) demanding the district improve its graduation rate each year by a certain percentage. DOE officials say the proposed requirement will be published in the Federal Register, opening a period of public comment, before issuing the final regulation later in the year. Advancing Women and Minorities THE RECIPIENTS OF THE 2008 DR. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award— Randall H. Collins, Terry B. Grier, Frances F. Jones and Helen C. Sobehart— were recently honored at the American Association of School Administrators’ (AASA) national conference. The award, now in its fifth year, recognizes AASA members’ individual efforts Collins related to the advocacy, support and advancement of women and minorities in education. “This year’s winners are truly deserving of this award for their extraordinary leadership in promoting and expanding diversity and multiculturalism among school system leaders,” AASA executive director Paul Houston said at the conference. Collins, profiled in the March 2007 issue of DA, is the superintendent of Waterford (Conn.) Public Schools and has supported and mentored women and minorities into the superintendency, including Waterford’s first black cabinetlevel administrator, a recent addition. 20 May 2008 “In the coming weeks, I will take administrative steps to ensure that all states use the same formula to calculate how many students graduate from high school on time—and how many drop out,” Spellings said at a dropout prevention summit in Washington last month. The specific formula has not yet been outlined by the DOE, but Spellings noted at the event that all 50 governors in the National Governors Association signed a compact in 2005 agreeing to eventually calculate their graduation rates based on a common method. Under that formula, graduate rates would be calculated by dividing the number of students who receive a traditional high school diploma by the number of first-time ninth-graders Is Your School on Fire or Smoldering? THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS rolling out an initiative to address one of the longstanding complaints against the No Child Left Behind law: that it treats schools the same regardless of whether they’re failing to meet annual benchmarks by a little or a lot. Secretary Margaret Spellings recently announced a pilot program allowing states to submit proposals for assigning different consequences to schools based on the degree to which they fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress. The move to distinguish between “on-fire schools” and “schools with a smolder,” Spellings says, is being referred to as “differentiated accountability” by DOE officials. Under the new program states will be able to tailor consequences toward specific problem areas and enjoy more efficient use of targeted resources. Georgia’s state superintendent of schools, Kathy Cox, says the adjustments “will allow for more strategic use of data and interventions to specifically help students that are falling behind.” But there is a catch: Only 10 states will be able to participate in the new plan at first. Eligible states must have already approved assessment systems to measure student achievement, and Spellings says preference will be given to states that have District Administration

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - May 2008

District Administration - May 2008
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Letters
News Update
Security Update
Curriculum Update
Inside the Law
District Profile
Administrator Profile
Book Excerpt
Addressing Food Allergies
Algebra: Changing the Equation
Stopping MRSA
Resources to Support Disabled Learners
Web Tools: The Second Generation
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
New Products
Speaking Out
Supervisor’s Opinion
Professional Opinion
Leadership Books
Research Center
Calendar of Events
Products Showcase
Understanding the Times

District Administration - May 2008

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