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Schools Fail to Meet Goals of 'No Child' Law

City's school system falls short on math and English objectives for students with disabilities.

For the third year in a row, the City of Alexandria school system fell short of its goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law, which requires 63 percent of all students pass the math Standards of Learning test and 65 percent must pass the English exam.

According to preliminary test results for the 2004-2005 school year, only 49 percent of Alexandria's students with disabilities passed the math test and only 49 percent passed the English test.

All other Alexandria student groups met their goals under the law. Overall, three out of every four students in the school system passed the math, English exams.

Though the school system as a whole did not achieve "Adequate Yearly Progress" once again, many of its 16 schools marked significant improvement.

"Each year the bar is raised under No Child Left Behind," said Superintendent Rebecca L. Perry in a statement. "For a school to make AYP, it is not enough to score the same as last year. They need to score even higher than last year. I am very pleased that all of our schools have shown improvement."

Alexandria's 9 elementary schools that receive federal Title I funds — because at least 35 percent of the school's students are economically disadvantaged — are held to a particularly high standard. If a Title I school fails to meet all 29 objectives under No Child Left Behind, they are hit with expensive sanctions.

One Title I elementary school, Jefferson-Houston, missed its goals for the third year in a row. It will be required to offer all of its students the choice to attend another school and it must provide its low-income students private tutors at public expense.

Another Title I school, Maury Elementary, substantially turned its scores around. The school, which had not achieved AYP for the previous two years, increased the pass rate for all students on the English exam by 20 percent.

Maury's low-income students posted even higher gains, increasing their scores on the English exam by 21 percent. All student groups at the school saw an increase of 10 percent on the math test.