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Las Vegas-area schools adopt new ranking system
by Associated Press
Feb 26, 2012 | 979 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas-area school administrators are promising more transparency and flexibility with a new school ranking system they’ve adopted while Nevada prepares to withdraw from the federal No Child Left Behind program.

The nation’s fifth-largest school district, which is beset by poor performance, is putting its more than 300 elementary and middle schools on a district-wide scale designed to allow more autonomy in curriculum, budget and operational decisions at high-performing “five-star” campuses and to focus more attention and resources on poorly performing “one-star” schools.

The so-called School Performance Framework will be extended to high schools in coming weeks, officials said.

“Big change is coming to the Clark County School District,” Board Member Carolyn Edwards said before school trustees adopted the program Thursday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Teachers in the audience applauded a colleague who expressed concern that rankings will be used to punish educators.

“Get rid of this competitive mentality,” said Theo Small, a fifth-grade teacher at Sandy Miller Elementary School.

Thirty-seven elementary schools earned five stars in an initial ranking, while 64 elementary schools earned one or two stars, the Review-Journal said.

Figures suggest half of Las Vegas-area students never make it to graduation, and Clark County schools have struggled to meet No Child Left Behind standards on yearly standardized tests. Nearly two-thirds of the district’s more than 350 schools failed to make the grade in each of the last two academic years.

Nevada is due next week to submit a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw from the federal program that Congress adopted in 2001. Other states have also sought exemptions amid complaints that the program is too rigid.

Results will be evaluated using the new Nevada Growth Model, which the state Department of Education and the Clark County School District created this school year to replace No Child Left Behind.
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