Saturday, 2:15 PM
Number of schools needing improvement rises
By David Abel, Globe Staff
Fifty percent of all Massachusetts public schools have been identified as needing improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, according to a report released today by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The figure, which included 102 schools in Boston, was up from 37 percent last year.
Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said that the schools aren’t getting worse -- federal guidelines are getting tougher.
“Under the federal accountability system that raises the bar each year, it’s not surprising that more of our schools have been identified,” Chester said. But he also said the test results “serve to highlight where we still have more work to do.”
The results are based on student performance on the 2008 MCAS English and math exams.
Middle schools especially had troubles. Seventy-five percent of middle schools in the state were considered underperforming, compared with 25 percent of high schools and 45 percent of elementary schools.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind regulations, all districts and schools are required to report their progress every year. All schools are expected to be performing adequately by 2014.
Schools that fail to meet yearly progress targets for two or more consecutive years are required to take action to improve student performance.
Chester said the department plans to assist the underperforming schools by reconfiguring its Center for School and District Assistance, as well as developing a center for curriculum and instruction, and a center for leadership and school redesign.
“We do not take the accountability status of any school or district lightly, but we also do not consider the schools to be failures,” said Chester.
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