The Hinsdale Township High School District 86 School Board Monday night was told that Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South both failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) during the past school year as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.
The law required all schools to have at least 85 percent of students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards in math and reading.
The detailed results for District 86 schools will not be released until October.
District 86 Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. Bruce Law told school board members that parents of students who attend Hinsdale South will receive a letter informing them that the school had failed to meet AYP.
“Federal law currently requires that we provide a No Child Left Behind status report to all parents of children who attend schools that receive Title I funding,” Law said. “We won’t be sending letters to Hinsdale Central [parents] because Hinsdale Central does not receive Title I funds.”
Title I is the portion of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 establishing the federal government’s criteria for providing assistance to schools with high percentages of low-income students.
Although Central parents will not be receiving letters, Law said the school’s AYP status had to be included in the status report due to another provision of No Child Left Behind.
“Districts can offer non-Title I schools making adequate yearly progress as a so-called ‘choice’ school to parents of Title I schools,” Law said.
In other words, the district had to provide the option for Hinsdale South students to attend Hinsdale Central instead. That option no longer will be available, Law said, because one subgroup of students at Hinsdale Central failed to meet AYP.
Board member Kay Gallo asked if students attending Hinsdale Central who were residents of the Hinsdale South district would have to return to South as a result. Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Wahl said they would not. He noted that only one Hinsdale Central student currently falls in that category.
End of an era?
The specific figures will not be released to the public until October, when the state issues its school report cards. Law said that by then, however, the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act may be largely moot as the Obama administration has announced it will grant states waivers from having to meet the law’s requirements.
Law cited a Sunday report in The New York Times quoting Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Larry Shumway.
“Pretty soon all the schools will be failing in America, and at that point the law becomes meaningless,” Shumway told the newspaper. “States are going to sit and watch federal accountability implode. We’re seeing the end of an era.”
“But that era is not over yet in the state of Illinois,” Law said, “so we have to send this letter out.”
Although the official results will not be available until the fall, board members got a preview of those figures Monday night. Board member Dianne Barrett said she found the disparity in the percentage of special education students displaying proficiency as compared with the rest of the student body alarming. She noted that only 50 percent of Hinsdale Central special education students tested met or exceeded the state standards for proficiency in math.
“That’s unacceptable,” she said. “We need to come up with a plan to help the other 50 percent. … I think that should be a goal of the district, to try to bring those numbers up.”
No results beyond the Hinsdale Central special education numbers were discussed Monday.