Schools Led by Obama's Education Secretary Designee Failed No-Child-Left-Behind Standard for Five Years

December 30, 2008 - 7:52 PM
Reading and math proficiency for some subgroups in the Chicago Public Schools was so low that the district failed to make overall "Adequate Yearly Progress" for the last five years, education statistics say.  

Chicago Schools Chief Arne Duncan smiles as President-elect Barack Obama announces his selection to be Education Secretary, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008, at the Dodge Renaissance Academy in Chicago. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The Chicago Public Schools, whose superintendent, Arne Duncan, has been tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to be the next education secretary, failed to meet the Illinois state standards set under the No Child Left Behind Act for the last five years.

From 2004 to 2008, the Chicago district (District 299) failed to make “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) in key areas, according to the district’s progress report on the Illinois State Board of Education Web site.
 
Under the No Child Left Behind Act that Congress passed in 2003, each state must “develop and implement a statewide accountability system” to ensure annual progress in all educational agencies and public schools in the state. 

Illinois administers a test every spring to determine proficiency in reading and math. The results are combined with each school’s participation rate and attendance rate (for elementary schools) or participation rate and graduation rate (for high schools), to determine if the school or district has made its AYP goal.
In 2006, 58 percent of students in the Chicago Public Schools met the state standards in reading and 59.7 percent met the state standards in mathematics. Both percentages were above the set 47.5 percent AYP success rate for that year.
 
However, to be counted as making Adequate Yearly Progress, schools must also achieve proficiency for all subgroups of students--White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Multiracial/Ethnic, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), Students with Disabilities and the Economically Disadvantaged (ED).
 
In 2006, for example, only 20.2 percent of Chicago’s “Students with Disabilities” subgroup met the state reading standards, and only 22.9 percent met the math requirement--both well below the expected percentage. As a result, the Chicago school district did not meet AYP goals in 2006.
 
In 2008, meanwhile, 60.1 percent of all students for the district achieved the standard in reading, which was below the 62.5 percent level required for that year.
 
The Black subgroup failed to meet the minimum level of proficiency in both reading and math, and the Hispanic subgroup fell short in reading along with the LEP and ED subgroups. The Students with Disabilities subgroup failed to achieve goals in both reading and math.
 
The Illinois State Board of Education sets a universal standard throughout the state that each district and school must meet. To meet state proficiency standards, 95 percent of all students – as well as 95 percent of all subgroups of 45 or more students – must be tested in reading and math. Only students in certain grade levels take the test each year, in grades ranging from elementary to high school.
 
The standards increase in difficulty each year, and will increase until the 2013-2014 school year when the proficiency rate for reading and mathematics is expected to be 100 percent for each school district in America, in accordance with No Child Left Behind.
 
The Chicago school district is currently on “Academic Watch” status, based on its failure to make adequate progress for four consecutive years--and in year two of academic watch for failure to make required improvements.
 
Arne Duncan, whom President Obama will nominate as secretary of education, was superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2008.