State officials bash federal education standard 98% of high schools don’t meet
BY ROSALIND ROSSI and LAUREN FITZPATRICK Staff Reporters October 30, 2012 5:46PM
Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico, right, and State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch discussed state test scores, the number of schools that missed Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and the status of Illinois’ request for a waiver from the AYP requirements of No Child Left Behind at the Thompson Center Tuesday Oct. 30, 2012. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: December 1, 2012 4:34PM
More than 98 percent of Illinois’ high schools fell short of a federal benchmark in 2012, so many that state officials on Tuesday called the No Child Left Behind law governing education “severely deficient.”
But until the state is granted a waiver from the federal requirements — a request that is still under review — many high-performing schools will continue to be labeled as failures, said Gery Chico, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education.
Only 11 of Illinois’ 671 eligible high schools achieved the standard known as Adequate Yearly Progress on standardized Prairie State Achievement Examinations, he said. Among the 11 are six Chicago powerhouse high schools: Walter Payton College Prep, Lane Tech, Northside College Prep, Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Jones College Prep and Whitney Young Magnet.
Among those high schools failing to make the federal standard are several renowned for their academic prowess: New Trier, the Lincoln-Way high schools, the Hinsdale schools and Stevenson.
Under No Child Left Behind, all public schools must have 100 percent of tested students meet state standards in reading and math by 2014. In the interim, states must set gradually increasing targets. If even one subgroup of students does not meet a target, the school does not fails to make the federal standard.
“I don’t think the law works, I think the law is severely deficient because those are fine schools and they deserve the proper recognition,” Chico said.
“You cannot look parents in the eye when you know a school is working very, very well and tell them that under the federal law you’re failing. That just doesn’t make sense anymore.”
Only 51 percent of high school students passed their standardized tests, yet 82 percent of elementary students did, Chico said.
“The PSAE scores continue to reflect the discrepancy between elementary education and high school, where standards and tests are more rigorous,” he said.
Next year, scores are expected to drop further as new standardized tests will measure the Common Core learning standards being taught in classrooms statewide for the first time this year, he said.