No Child law is leaving isles behind, study finds
In 2006, 65 percent of schools failed test benchmarks, a small decrease from 2005*
Lack of funding, staff and technology support are to blame for Hawaii's struggle to keep up with requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, a national study says.
Those problems were more prevalent in states that had a greater number of schools failing annual testing benchmarks, according to the study by the Center on Education.
The state Department of Education said the law brought a "greater administrative burden" on the public system without giving schools adequate money or support to meet ambitious goals.
Hawaii is among states having the most difficulty implementing education reform programs under the No Child Left Behind law because of inadequate funding, staff and technology, according a national study released yesterday.
The problem is worse in states where 26 percent or more of schools are failing testing benchmarks known as Adequate Yearly Progress, according to the study by the Center on Education.
In Hawaii, 65 percent of schools missed AYP in 2006, according to the state Department of Education. That is down from 66 percent of schools who flunked it in 2005 but an increase from 48 percent of schools in 2004.
The study was compiled from interviews with education officials and questionnaires about the law. States were not named or ranked so the center could "get honest answers" and avoid political bias, said Jack Jennings, president of the Washington, D.C.-based center.
Based on Hawaii's test results, however, Jennings said the state likely "is not staffed very well."
"Your state is not much different than all these states that are saying, 'We just can't help all these schools,'" he said. "Something's got to give."
Greg Knudsen, spokesman for the DOE, said it is hard to compare states' compliance with the law because they have different testing standards. But he agreed the law "placed a greater administrative burden" on schools without providing enough money or support to meet its high goals.
Among the study's findings:
» Thirty-two states said they need more money to help students raise test scores, and only 10 states said they had enough funds.
» Forty-one states said they could not give schools adequate technical support.
Passed in 2002, the law is up for review this year, and Congress is holding hearings on proposed changes to the law, including more funding, Jennings said.
U.S. Secretary Of Education Margaret Spellings said yesterday the department wants to increase funding for schools serving poor students by more than $1 billion, according to a news release.
If they fail, schools face sanctions that worsen each year. These begin in the first year by allowing students of underperforming schools to have priority in transferring to other schools. They culminate in restructuring in the fifth year.