School Leaders address No Child Left Behind Law - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

School Leaders address No Child Left Behind Law

(KFVS) -

How do you fix the No Child Left Behind law?  It's a question school leaders are asking even as they try to meet the standards of the current mandate, bringing every student proficient in reading and math by 2014.

"It can paint us in a bad light even when we are doing so many other good things just through this one set of numbers," said Dr. Sherry Copeland, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Cape Public Schools. "We care so much about student improvement. As a district we rank much higher in many subjects than Adequate Yearly Progress scores may reflect. We are optimistic for some kind of reform."

School leaders say something has to give, because the way things stand now, there's no way every child will be up to par by 2014.

In fact, Michele Clark of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says the federal bar is raising at a higher level than anybody can keep up with, so by 2014 it will be a rare school that will be in compliance.

In fact, according to Clark nearly 85% of Schools in Missouri failed to meet proficiency requirements.

School leaders say it's frustrating because no matter how much potential exists,  what they do on paper rarely measures up.

"We believe every child can grow and has enormous potential, but is every child's potential 100%, probably not," said Dr. Copeland. "It puts out teachers and our students and our parents under a lot of stress."

"It's just not realistic," said Blane Keel, Superintendent of Clearwater Schools. "If they would let us measure the progress of each student that might help. We have spent so much time reforming the way teachers instruct since the start of No Child Left Behind."

Meanwhile, leaders say they are anxious and also somewhat skeptical about waivers states can apply for.

"I think they may come with their own set of strings," said Chris Hon, Superintendent of Poplar Bluff Public Schools. "We here at Poplar Bluff focus on seeing each student improve and be the best they can

The guidelines, through the Obama Administration, won't be out for the next few weeks.

Missouri would have to apply as a state.

So, for now in districts like Clearwater, Poplar Bluff, and Cape Girardeau say they focus on teacher instruction to see progress in every individual student.

Superintendents say that might be a better way to gauge improvement.  Others say beyond the waivers, they'd like to see a whole new set of rules.

Schools sent out letters to parents letting each one know where their school stands heading in to the year.

We should learn more about state guidelines for waivers at the beginning of September.

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