District reacts to poor No Child Left Behind scores


MISSOULA, Mont. - Only one Missoula County high school met the standards this year, set in the No Child Left Behind Act.  

The executive director for teaching and learning told us it's extremely difficult to reach No Child Left Behind standards because they required up to 95% of all students meet core national standards.  Mark Thane added that those standards increase to 100% of students in 2014.

If a district falls below the standard for several years, it could lose federal funds, so Thane tells NBC Montana that most states already have requested to be exempt from the No Child Left Behind Act requirements.

Thane says, "47 states and the District of Columbia have all received waivers in regard to the No Child Left Behind Act.  Montana has not.  Montana has not even applied for a waiver from the standards at this point. So, many states were facing this dramatic drop in the number of schools that would make A.Y.P. (Acceptable Yearly Progress), and have opted for a waiver out of No Child Left Behind.  Montana has not.  We are simply waiting for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act to see where we stand in the future."

Thane says Montana already is working to increase math and reading scores on a state level.  

He explains that the Common Core State Standards are setting rigorous math and reading curriculum and assessment.

Thane adds that the Measures of Academic Progress are charting individual student by student growth rather than using a large group test.  

Finally, Montana has instituted Professional Learning Communities in which educators come together to ask what students should know, how they should assess students and how they should individualize the learning environment.

Thane went on to tell NBC Montana that student scores in Missoula County have increased over the last five years in forms of assessment other than the No Child Left Behind test.

Local educators believe that congress with change national reading and math standards before Montana schools are in danger of losing major federal funds.

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