Eight school buildings and three school districts in Oswego County have been added to the state’s list of schools that need to improve education quickly.
The New York State Education Department Thursday revealed its new list of schools that failed to make adequate progress towards its ever-higher goals for student achievement.
Three school districts landed on the list: Central Square, Fulton and Mexico.
In addition, eight school buildings were added to the list:
- APW Middle School;
- Central Square Intermediate School;
- Fulton Junior High School;
- Mexico Middle School;
- Oswego’s Fitzhugh Park and Leighton Elementary Schools and Oswego Middle School;
- Dillon Middle School in Phoenix.
They join Central Square’s Paul V. Moore High School, Hannibal’s Kenney Middle School and Phoenix’s Maroun Elementary School on the list.
Pulaski and Sandy Creek are the only districts not to appear on either list.
The eight new schools must now offer extra academic help to struggling students. If they remain on the list for a second year, they could be forced to offer parents the opportunity to move their children to qualifying charter schools at district expense.
The eight schools are listed as being in Improvement (Year 1) status. It is the lowest and least-restrictive designation. Those schools will need to come up with a school improvement plan and show yearly progress.
Hannibal’s Kenney Middle School is in the most precarious position. It is listed as being in Corrective Action (Year 2) status. Failure to make adequate progress could cause the school to end up in the final status, called Restructuring, where a school can be taken over by the state or shut down, among other possibilities.
All of this is brought about by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which forces schools to make educational improvements in return for receiving federal education aid under Title I.
Statewide, 1325 schools and 123 districts landed on the state’s list this year, a massive increase from the year before that a state official called “unprecedented”.
There was an eight-fold increase in the number of schools identified as needing to improve.
The State Education Department believes there are reasons for the huge increase, including changes in testing dates, harder scoring for students with disabilities, increases in the targets for graduations rates, and others.
Nonetheless, State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said, “We cannot and should not accept disappointing proficiency rates at the school or sub-group level. While the 2014 NCLB deadline for proficiency for all may not be achieved, it’s the right goal and it should be our goal. Our students are not graduating with the skills they need to succeed in college and careers. That has to change, and change now.”
However, the state is seeking a waiver of some No Child Left Behind requirements under changes to the law proposed by the federal government.