2006/04/17

AP: States Omit Minorities' School Scores

By FRANK BASS, NICOLE ZIEGLER DIZON and BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writers 2 hours, 25 minutes ago

States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress.

With the federal government's permission, schools deliberately aren't counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found.

Minorities — who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing — make up the vast majority of students whose scores are being excluded, AP found. And the numbers have been rising.

"I can't believe that my child is going through testing just like the person sitting next to him or her and she's not being counted," said Angela Smith, a single mother. Her daughter, Shunta' Winston, was among two dozen black students whose test scores weren't counted to judge her suburban Kansas City, Mo., high school's performance by race.

Under the law championed by
President Bush all public school students must be proficient in reading and math by 2014, although only children above second grade are required to be tested.

Schools receiving federal poverty aid also must demonstrate annually that students in all racial categories are progressing or risk penalties that include extending the school year, changing curriculum or firing administrators and teachers.

The U.S. Education Department said it didn't know the breadth of schools' undercounting until seeing AP's findings.
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