No child should be left behind

According to an Associated Press article published Tuesday, a large percentage of American Indians and Hispanics were not included in separate reports indicating Douglas County's compliance with No Child Left Behind. No black or Asian students were reported separately.

That's because in Nevada, school districts don't have to report populations of fewer than 25 students. According to the Nevada Department of Education, many of the county's schools have fewer than 25 students in each of these four racial categories and are therefore not counted as separate populations.

In December 2004, Gardnerville Elementary School, for instance, had 19 American Indian students. Under the state's rules, those children's test results didn't have to be broken out from the general population. However, at Meneley Elementary School where there were 57 American Indian students in 2004, their test results were not excluded. All the test scores are included in the school's overall total, but one of the requirements of the law is that not only must a school succeed for the majority of students, it must also succeed for its minorities as well.

The law requires separate reporting for not just racial minorities, but for poor students, migrant students, students who do not speak the English language and special education students. But the state says if there are fewer than 25 students in any of these categories, it is OK for a school not to report their results separately.

The implication is that because the numbers aren't reported as part of the federal requirement, the students must be in some way be left behind.

But the students are being tested, and teachers and school administrators are aware of the results. Those results are being included in overall school scores, and may also be included in categories other than those based on race.

The impact of failing to make adequate yearly progress for any length of time is so great, that school's can't afford to let any student fall behind. That's the point of the legislation.

We believe that Douglas County educators take No Child Left Behind seriously. To do otherwise is to risk our own future as well as that of our children.


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