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Thu January 30, 2003
Meeting Ed Standards
By Martha Bebinger
WRNI – State education officials have mapped out a plan for compliance with strict new federal education requirements.
Rhode Island must submit a plan for making sure every public School child reaches a proficient standard by 2014. That will mean dramatic changes for districts with chronically troubled schools.
State Education Commissioner Peter McWalters worries that the demands on districts with failing schools may undermine their chances for improvement.
"As much as I think this is absolutely the right challenge, some of the mechanics of it are counter productive to its own objectives. A school can be turned around in two to three years, but there's no evidence yet that a system can be," McWalters said.
The state is asking federal authorities for some leniency as low performing schools work to boost achievement and avoid financial penalties.
Under the proposal, there sill be two standards for reviewing
schools in Rhode Island. Federal law demands across the board improvements in test results. If any set of scores, a school is considered low performing. This new system for federal compliance will not effect state education requirements. They will continue to set improving achievement levels, but at a slower pace.
Education officials say it is possible that a school could be considered high performing by state standards, but not by the federal government.
Rhode Island begins negotiations with the federal government in the next few weeks.