School figures don’t give true picture, Education Minnesota says


The “Adequately Yearly Progress” data announced by the Minnesota Department of Education doesn’t give a true picture of the performance of the state’s public schools, Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher said.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to measure “Adequate Yearly Progress.” Recently released figures indicate the number of Minnesota schools that did not make AYP in 2008 was 937, up from 727 in 2007.

AYP attempts to measure schools’ overall proficiency based on the results of standardized testing and assessments. The goal of NCLB is to have schools be 100 percent proficient by 2014.

“All we get from No Child Left Behind is an annual list that tells us nothing about student growth, nothing about the effectiveness of instruction and nothing about how our schools are really performing,” said Dooher. “Minnesotans deserve a real accountability system that includes meaningful measurements, incentives for improvement and research-based solutions.”

The federal No Child Left Behind Act has sweeping accountability requirements that affect every school in Minnesota. Many educators believe the law must be fundamentally changed to make it more responsive to the actual needs of students, and it also must be properly funded.

The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have stepped up their campaign for changes in law as it comes up for reauthorization. Shortcomings of the law include the fact that it measures schools solely on the basis of two test scores and the AYP is an “all-or-nothing” mechanism.

AFT and NEA said a sound educational policy should use more than test scores to measure student learning and school performance, reduce class size to help students learn and increase the number of highly qualified teachers in public schools.

Adapted from an article on the Education Minnesota website,