More D.C. Schools in Need of Improvement

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Washington, D.C. schools showed slight improvement and suffered major setbacks in their achievement of yearly benchmarks from 2010-2011. A report released by the city’s superintendent revealed that less than half of schools evaluated met math and reading requirements.

The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report revealed that out of 187 schools assessed, only 52 met federal math and reading requirements—up 15 schools since 2010. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires school districts to meet targets set by the superintendent’s office, including graduation rates, attendance and proficiency in reading and math on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System.

If a school does not make AYP for two or more consecutive years, the school will be identified as a school in need of improvement (SINI). In this year’s report, 28 new schools were identified as a SINI—bringing the total to 163 schools needing improvement. Only one school exited SINI status, according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) report.

“AYP scores alone do not tell a school’s full story,” said D.C. State Superintendent of Education Hosanna Mahaley. “OSSE, LEAs, and schools will analyze the 2011 data and multi-year trends further to determine appropriate next steps.”

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown released a statement and applauded public charter schools and tech schools—Phelps and McKinley—for their progress on the AYP.

“This clearly indicates that these middle grades students were well prepared for the rigors of these high school programs. It also demonstrates that charter schools are making great strides,” Brown said.

But he later voiced his concern for schools already identified as SINI that seem to be moving “backwards” rather than improving. “Performance measures should go up, or at least stabilize, but never should they shift downward,” he said. “I plan to focus all my energies into ensuring that every school in our system provides a quality education for each and every student. Anything less is unacceptable.”