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-- nearly half of US public schools are failing federal achievement standards.
That's according to a new report out today.
It's the largest failure rates since No Child Left Behind went into effect -- only ten years ago Jack Jennings is the president and CEO of the center on education policy.
An independent agency that released this report I Jack welcome to the show what are we make of this report what is it tells about her school's.
Well it tells us that -- federal standards as you said half the schools are not making it.
But -- what we have to understand is that this -- No Child Left Behind has been criticized by president.
Obama by Republican democratic leaders in the senate and house.
By educators as being an effective measure it's not an accurate measure of how well schools are doing.
And so the meaning of the report isn't necessarily that we're sinking many of the report is that we have to change the federal law that measures accountability.
Well and a and a good question of course -- -- we do that -- that's been one of the issues.
In this whole debate what's the best answer the question Jack.
But the best answered the question is that -- congress is hamstrung.
After partisan reasons and they can't get a bill -- this far expired four years ago and congress hasn't been able to agree on a bill.
And so in the absence of legislation to -- this law the Obama administration's offering waivers to the states have certain -- of the provisions.
And 39 and the states have said that they will apply for waivers.
And what we've looked at the first eleven applications and what the states want to do.
His have a more sophisticated system of accountability that more accurately measures how wells to schools are doing.
I think -- -- waivers are we just.
You know shrugging their shoulders walking away from the responsibility of making these schools better -- which is giving them a free pass.
Now we're now.
One and then what would say in place is that there would be testing for schoolchildren.
There'd be release of this testing -- as we understand and -- have to be released by subgroups are you know how well.
Disabled children are doing in a particular school how well I'm black and Americans are doing in -- school.
-- that would all be public but what would be different is that -- states would more accurately measure which schools they should intervene in and which schools they should change.
So the pressure would still be there for accountability -- has said it would be in seven abroad -- measure would be more precise measure of accountability.
Well it's obviously very controversy -- I spoke to Arnie Duncan the head of educate the Education Department not too long ago.
Here's what he had to -- Well I'm most concerned about as we go to the next school year.
Is on the next year or two without changes the vast majority of schools are confident we'll be labels failure 7580%.
And it simply doesn't reflect reality we absolutely have schools are struggling anyone challenges there's -- challenge the status -- there.
We're schools are getting better each year where they're improving -- teachers -- pencils are working really hard to label them as failures is confusing -- advertising.
Doesn't make sense the parents and students.
Jack -- -- he mentions the number 8082%.
Right failing grades for schools your study shows about half.
Why is -- such a big difference there.
The difference is that we're reporting actual numbers from the states what secretary Duncan tried to do a year ago was -- -- the future.
And he has some of his staff people to try to figure out in a year.
A year from that time how many schools would be telling they obviously didn't used to write methodology they didn't figure it out right.
And what they projected was 82% of the schools would be failing the actual numbers are 48% of the schools are considered failing according to this to -- It's a little difference in definition I guess.
I could tell at a I don't like either those numbers I don't like 50% I don't like 80%.
And it really leads to the question and this has -- the Republican criticism.
How the education system is that public education system has been run in this country.
Are we spending too much time.
Protecting teachers who are unionized and not enough time looking after the kids.
And making sure they're getting taking care of and that -- education is priority number one here.
Well you're right.
The children should be first.
But -- you can't fault combined they Obama administration.
They're trying to get the states to change their valuation systems to consider test scores consider other factors.
And -- get rid of ineffective teachers and they're running into resistance in different states among different groups.
So Obama's pressing hard in order to get rid of -- ineffective teachers in fact he's pressing.
A little too hard in some instances.
But I think that in the last four presidents have -- clearly the two bushes are Clinton -- -- they've all said clearly.
That the United States is not doing what it has to do to how good schools.
And I I think that's absolutely clear right we're just not getting good traction on this problem Jack thanks for bringing us the report tonight we really appreciate your time.
Thank you for --