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District 97 Allows Beye Students to Transfer

Substandard progress, defined by the No Child Left Behind act, triggers a transfer option at Oak Park elementary school.

Parents of students in will have the option to move their children into other schools.

Parents were notified in an Aug. 8 letter of the option to move their kids out of Beye Elementary, where a "subgroup" of students for the second year in a row did not meet its reading and math targets laid out in the controversial No Child Left Behind law.

That means Beye has been placed on what's known as "federal improvement status," which, among other mandated improvements, requires so-called underperforming schools to offer families a chance to switch to Whittier Elementary School or Hatch Elementary School, facilities that closely match Beye's enrollment figures. (Plus, they're the closest to Beye.)

Families have 30 days from receiving the letter to notify the district of their choice to switch. So far, no families have taken D97 up on the offer.

In fact, Jasculca said, the only feedback the district has received is from parents who've taken umbrage with district's decision to identify the subgroup, African-American students.

But Jasculca said that's a requirement for schools placed on federal improvement status, and one that district officials aren't exactly happy to carry out.

"No Child Left Behind has redeeming qualities, it truly does. It helps us identify students who are struggling in important subject areas like math and reading," he said. "But it's a law fraught with a number of flaws, and one of the more significant flaws us that it shines a very public spotlight on these subgroups."

Casey Cora (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Some additional comments from District 97 spokesman Chris Jasculca: "While we believe NCLB has some redeeming qualities, it also has significant flaws that tend to mislead the general public and unfairly malign the hard work of educators. In addition, it promotes a shortsighted, box score approach to assessing student achievement and fails to accurately measure how much progress students have made in a given year. We cannot and should not place so much emphasis and importance on a single standardized test. Instead, we must see it for what it is—one of the many tools and assessments we can use to help our children learn and grow. Our hope is that the legislation will eventually be changed to reflect a growth model that acknowledges academic success instead of student failure. In the meantime, we will continue to abide by the rules, processes and procedures that govern the law. Lastly, there is no test that can replace the hard work and creativity of our students, the leadership and tireless commitment of our staff, or the passionate support and spirited engagement of our parents/guardians."

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