Last year, all Columbia County schools made Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind requirements. This year, three schools missed AYP and made the whole school system miss, too.
This news comes the week after the latest Criterion Reference Competency Test results, in which barely half of the pupils retaking the test this summer passed.
NCLB. AYP. CRCT.
What's it all mean? Not much.
Let's face it: Dialogue about public education is far too focused on test results and competitive comparisons between schools and systems. This became worse with the passage of NCLB, which imposed more federal control of local systems and causes the annual anxiety accompanying release of AYP numbers.
Does it really matter? Georgia officials have admitted that even though passing the CRCT is a requirement for students in third, fifth and eighth grades, almost no students are retained after failing.
As for AYP, the law in theory provides very limited school choice rights to parents in schools that repeatedly fail. The reality is few parents are able to take advantage of the rare option.
In essence, the state and feds set these standards, but the consequences are so weak as to make them meaningless.
What's really important is individual student achievement, and that's still up to mom and dad.
They know if their child is getting a decent education. They've found that's consistently the case in Columbia County. And they don't need a bowl of federal alphabet soup to make that clear.
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