Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moody Schools To Be Left Behind, Students Vouchered

"Adequate Yearly Progress" is inadequate - Moody School District to be left behind

Turning out students who can't read, write and figure adequately just cost a central Texas school district big time, according to a former administrator.

“Parents and community have the right to know what corrective actions are being taken to resolve these critical issues,” said Robbie Parham, an educator who has retired from the Moody school district.

In the coming academic year, parents of Moody Independent School District students will be allowed to transfer their children to other districts because of students' poor performance on the TAKS tests.

Letters informing parents of Moody students will be mailed on February 1.

For the fifth year in a row, the school district has failed to meet “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) standards set up by the U.S. Department of Education, which triggers the Texas Education Agency's action of requiring the school district to pay vouchers for students' education elsewhere and payment of their transportation fees to those neighboring school districts.

About 22 percent of Texas schools fall under the category requiring corrective action because students performed poorly in one or more of dozens of categories gauging their progress in math, reading, writing, or any other academic skills.

Knowledgeable educators nationwide have criticized the program's action of taking the best students out of the schools thusly affected. The net effect is to rob the affected school districts of sorely needed resources such as cash and the talent pool of the brightest students' scores on the yearly battery of tests that evaluate the job the district is doing.

Said Mrs. Parham, “Did we really believe by running good teachers off and spending $11.5 million on building projects would be the solution to better scores? I wrote a similar letter when the 'bond' (issue) was being pushed. Is it going to take our school being taken over by the state agencies for good to exist? We may look good on the outside, but what is happening internally?”

State officials have an array of corrective actions they make take by law, including:

* deferring funds or reducing administrative funds;
* introducing new curriculum based on achievement standards;
* replacing personnel who contributed to the failures of the district to meet the average yearly progress standards;
* removing certain schools from the districts and establishing alternative
* appointment of a receiver or trustee to administer the affairs of the school;
* completely abolishing or restructuring the school district;
* or authorizing students to transfer to a school with higher performance ratings.

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