NU high schools on governor’s bad list
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged Wednesday to bring help, and possibly punishment, to 97 school districts that have persistently failed to make progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Nevada Joint Union High School District is included in the list – in a category that indicates not the poor performance of students, but rather, narrowly missing federal accountability targets that include the number of students who participate in certain tests, district Superintendent Ralf Swenson said late Wednesday.
Other area school districts included in the list were the Tahoe-Truckee Joint Unified district, categorized as needing “light” intervention; Del Paso Heights and North Sacramento elementary districts, in the “other” category; and Marysville Joint Unified district, in the “other” category.
Many of the districts listed as needing “intensive” or “moderate” intervention have large numbers of immigrant students.
The plan Schwarzenegger crafted with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell would channel $45 million in federal money to the students who need help the most, Schwarzenegger said.
The districts face sanctions for the first time this year under the federal law after failing to meet their achievement goals for five years. The local high school district fell short of the federal standards because “two of our continuation schools had low (test) scores, which is typical for continuation schools across the state,” Swenson said.
In addition, “the names of some of our alternative schools were changed in the past few years … (causing) any (improvement) they might have experienced to be negated because they had not ‘existed’ the previous year,” Swenson said.
Schools also were scored on the proportion of students taking an exit exam when leaving school.
“None of our schools are program improvement schools, yet our district was identified as such basically because 13 too few kids took the exit exam in one subgroup,” Swenson said.
Swenson will meet with the state Board of Education on March 12-13 and show that the district’s listing as needing improvement “is largely the result of confusion at the California Department of Education,” Swenson said.
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