Douglas schools focus on national program |

Douglas schools focus on national program

The No Child Left Behind Act will be the focus of every aspect of the Douglas County School District programs and curriculum for the next 10 years, Superintendent John Soderman told board members.

“The district will undergo a huge endeavor. It has assessments, measures and consequences. This is a law with teeth,” Soderman said at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Called the most sweeping education bill in decades, the 1,200-page No Child Left Behind Act will require states to construct test standards in three core subjects for tracking students’ progress.

If a school fails in student progress, the particular district would have to pay if the student wanted to go to an achieving school. Ultimately, if a school continues to remain inadequate, the government can seize the facility.

States such as Nevada are working on standards in reading and math, and Soderman said it’s up to districts to agree on a formula.

By the 2005-06 school year, states are mandated to institute a science standard. Test scores will be used by the government to check on the progress made by minority, low-income and disabled students.

The superintendent cited concerns including overtesting children, manpower needed to process the information and the number of schools that would be deemed inadequate.

It is not out of the question that the district may have to come up with its own budget line item to pull the extra resources needed if a school was deemed inadequate and not receiving federal money, Soderman told board members.

Five ethnic groups coupled with nine sets for educational requirements constitute 45 areas that schools must make progress in to avoid being deemed inadequate, Soderman said.

No Child Left Behind is a replacement to 1994’s Improving America’s Schools Act, which was one of a string of Congress-approved reauthorizations to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Statewide, school officials are concerned with the possible ramifications of the bill. Before No Child Left Behind, the government required assessment and reporting on Title One schools, which serve a majority of students who are economically challenged. But now it’s all schools, including those in Nevada, which has more than 400.

— Staff writer William Ferchland contributed to this report.

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