By Robin J. Youngblood, Staff writer
More than a year after the federal No Child Left Behind Act was introduced, some local school administrators and teachers have questions about it.
The act details achievement guidelines for all school districts in the country. It mandates that all students meet their states' learning standards in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year, and spells out the consequences if they don't.
Those consequences could include allowing parents the option of transferring their children to other schools, state oversight of schools, or even state takeovers of schools.
Jay Marino, assistant superintendent of curriculum for the Rock Island-Milan School District, said school personnel still are trying to decipher the 1,200-page text of the federal act.
Mr. Marino said the main reasons NCLB is still confusing are the changing definition of ``adequate yearly progress,'' and lots of recent retirements in the Illinois State Board of Education offices.
The district isn't trying to blame anyone, he said. ``The ISBE is as frustrated as we are. ... Interpreting 1,200 pages is mind-boggling.''
Under NCLB, students' progress is measured by scores on standardized
achievement tests selected by each state.
Schools must make ``adequate yearly progress'' toward the goal of all
students meeting academic standards by the 2013-14 school year. The federal
government wants the percentage of students meeting standards to rise equally
each year, and
Mr. Marino said
Currently, four schools in the Rock Island-Milan school district,
Retirements at ISBE have added to the confusion over NCLB details. Mr. Marino said the district's two main contacts retired within two weeks of each other. New people have since been assigned to deal with the district's questions.
``The main problem is (determining) who is in charge of what,'' said John
Flaherty, assistant regional superintendent for
UT superintendent Craig Whitlock said his district is going through the same
``We're on the very front of the whole process,'' he said. ``So far, the state board representative that we've had to deal with has been very responsive.''
Mr. Whitlock did say, however, that he would like the achievement guidelines to be more consistent. ``We never know what the targets are.''
Staff writer Robin Youngblood can be reached at (309) 786-6441, ext. 257, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.