AUGUSTA — Most Maine schools aren’t meeting goals set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Maine Department of Education.
The results came as no surprise, and are based on a “flawed federal accountability system,” according to Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen.
“Our schools are not doing worse this year than last year, but you wouldn’t know that from the way federal [Adequate Yearly Progress] lists are calculated,” Bowen said. “This is why we, like most other states, have requested flexibility to do accountability differently.”
Just 204 of 584 Maine schools, or 35 percent, are labeled as meeting adequate yearly progress goals in 2012-13, an improvement from the 30 percent of schools who met goals last year. While the number of schools meeting standards increased, more Maine schools were added to a list of Continuous Improvement Priority Schools because they failed to meet goals for two consecutive years, according to the department.
Under federal law, Maine schools are required to meet progressively higher testing targets each year. If school performance remains steady, or even improves to a smaller degree than the standards require, those schools will not meet their adequate yearly progress goals.
“We have instances where schools are making dramatic improvements but can’t keep up with the ever-rising federal targets,” Bowen said, adding that the state has requested a waiver which would require all schools to reduce the percentage of students not proficient.
“With our waiver, we’ll still set ambitious goals for schools, but realistic ones based on where they are starting,” Bowen said.
Federal rules require that 100 percent of students in all subgroups be proficient in their testing by the 2013-14 school year before a school is considered to have made adequate yearly progress.
Full adequate yearly progress results for 2012-2013 may be found at www.maine.gov/education/pressreleases/ayp/index.html. More information on Maine’s NCLB flexibility request may be found at www.maine.gov/doe/accountability.