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Officials look at what could be Left Behind

Molly Shore

School district administrators and teachers are taking a hard look

at the “No Child Left Behind Act” and scratching their heads as to

whether they are in conformance with its mandates.

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The problem is many of the federal mandates have not been

formulated and officials do not know if state regulations will

satisfy the yet-to-be written federal requirements.

When it became law last year, “No Child Left Behind” contained

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fundamental issues that schools, school districts and states must

adhere to, or risk losing federal education dollars, including Title

I funds to economically disadvantaged schools.

In Burbank, federal funds make up more than $3 million of the

budget, the district’s Categorical Programs Coordinator Fred Lilly

said.

At the school board meeting Thursday night, Lilly outlined various

aspects of the law. Of particular concern to the board and

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administrators are the qualifications the federal law requires for

teachers.

All teachers hired on or after the first day of the 2002-03 school

year who teach in a program supported by Title I funds must be

“highly qualified,” according to the law. However, the law does not

define what qualifications teachers must have.

Kim Anderson, coordinator of professional development, said the

district’s ultimate goal is to phase out emergency creden- tialed

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teachers, as part of its plan to meet federal mandates.

“There is a teacher shortage all over the country,” Lilly said.

“You think that you can hire your teachers and fill all the positions

without an emergency credential? It’s just not going to happen.”

Another vague area of federal law is accountability and school

improvement. The law says states must annually review the progress of

schools receiving Title I funds to determine whether the school is

making adequate yearly progress as defined by the state.

In California, the state’s Academic Performance Index, rating

schools scholastically from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000, might

not be aligned with federal guidelines, but Lilly said he expects the

federal government to approve the state’s version.

District Supt. Gregory Bowman said it is unrealistic to think that

the many aspects of the law can be resolved in a short period of

time.

“You have 50 states and you have 50 plans, and they all have to be

massaged to meet the requirements,” he said.


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