The "failing" schools list under the newly-passed Alabama Accountability Act has been released. State education officials to released the results around 10 a.m. on Monday.
A total of 78 schools made the failing schools list.
State Superintendent Tommy Bice made it clear that just because a school is listed as failing doesn't mean it's not improving, or that the school has been a consistent underachiever.
Of the 78 failing schools, 48 have at least one year of being satisfactory since 2007. And under the new law's standards, 24 of the schools were not failing last year.
The state superintendent says his authority is limited and he can't just take a school off the list if it shows significant improvement.
Under the Alabama Accountability Act, parents who want to remove their kids from the failing schools and send them to better ones can receive tax credits worth about $3,500 per year. Parents must notify schools by August 1 if they plan to transfer their children. Parents will be allowed to file for the credits during tax season next year.
The Birmingham City School System had the most schools in the list with 11 "failing" schools:
Bush Middle School - Magnet
Center Street Middle
Green Acres Middle
Martha Gaskins Middle
WE Putnam Middle School – Magnet
Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle
Birmingham Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon issued a statement Tuesday, saying there is more to the story than shown on the "failing schools" list.
According to Witherspoon's office, under the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, schools were placed on the list if they were in the lowest 6 percent of schools three or more of the last six years. Schools were ranked according to the percentage of students whose scores on the Alabama Reading and Math Test (ARMT) were at or above grade level.
"If you look at the last two or three years, there definitely has been growth at most of these schools," Witherspoon said.
He says that overall, the district is making progress, and discussions are ongoing about how to improve schools.
"We know that we still have work to do, "he said, "but schools also need to be recognized for the progress they have made."
Tuscaloosa City Schools had three schools on the failing list:
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
Central High School
Westlawn Middle School
Jefferson County's participation in the list was set at two schools:
Center Point High
A school for students with special needs in Shelby County, the Linda Nolen Learning Center, was also included on the list.
The Shelby County School System issued the following statement today in response:
The Linda Nolen Learning Center serves students with significant special needs, including students with medical issues that require round-the-clock care, and students with emotional and behavioral disorders.
"We provide a quality education to students who are on an individualized education plan," said Superintendent Randy Fuller. "Our goal is to help them make progress, to help them move from point A to point B, not holding them accountable to the same standards as all other students. We fell like the Linda Nolen Learning Center is an excellent school and it is one that the majority of parents have willingly chosen as the best learning environment for their child."
Under the definition of failing schools per the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 Section 4(3)i, the Linda Nolen Learning Center meets the criteria as a persistently low-performing school by the State Department of Education, in the most recent United States Department of Education School Improvement School Improvement Grant (FY2011 for Tier I and Tier II Lowest Achieving 5%). * The Linda Nolen Learning Center was eligible, but did not apply for the grant.
The Linda Nolen Learning Center does not appear with the school listed under Section 4(3)iii, which removes schools that exclusively serve a special population of students.
To see the entire list and check for your local schools, visit http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wbrc/docs/AAA_Failing_School_Combine_List.pdf
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