(Host) Education Commissioner Richard Cate says that he’s not overly concerned that 39 schools in the state have failed to meet standards established by the No Child Left Behind education law. That represents roughly 13 percent of all schools in the state.
This is the second year that schools have been evaluated using the federal law. Last year, 31 schools failed to meet the requirements. Five schools from that group have made sufficient progress to be dropped from the “deficient” list. This year, 14 additional schools have been identified as failing to meet the federal standards.
Commissioner Cate says he plans to work with these schools to improve their education outcomes. But he doesn’t want compliance with the new federal law to overshadow his Department’s efforts to improve the quality of education in all Vermont schools:
(Cate) “It doesn’t mean much to me that the number gets bigger because I know that right now every school in the state, as I said before, needs some improvement. We need to work together on it. So let’s just figure it out. Let’s not let this federal law change our focus. The only focus should be about making sure that we are getting to every child and we are helping them to be successful. That’s all that matters in this whole equation.”
(Host) The federal law does include a school choice option for students who attend a school that has failed to meet the national standards for at least two years in a row. Twenty-five Vermont schools fall into this category.
However, Cate says this option will have limited application in Vermont because most of the communities only have one school in their district.