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State, NCLB report cards should use same criteria

This week, the Oregon Department of Education has released school report cards, showing how Crook County's and the rest of the state's schools fare.
   Cecil Sly, Powell Butte, and Ochoco Elementary Schools had a "strong" overall rating and Crooked River Elementary had a "satisfactory" overall rating. Paulina Elementary was not rated. Crook County Middle School and Crook County High School were categorized as "satisfactory." The good news is that all seven schools scored "exceptional" under the school characteristics category.
   The state report cards rate about 97 percent of Oregon schools as satisfactory or higher, including 85 percent of Oregon high schools. The Oregon Department of Education rates schools as unacceptable, low, satisfactory, strong or exceptional.
   But there are contrasts between the Oregon report cards and the No Child Left Behind Act, as an article by Michelle Bertalot in today's paper points out.
   NCLB reports found 71 percent of Oregon schools met federal standards and only 26 percent of Oregon high schools met the federal act's requirements.
   The reason the Oregon report card scores are different than NCLB documentations is because the school report cards weigh schoolwide averages. However, the NCLB act analyzes how each group of students - special education, minority students, English as a second language, among others - does in testing.
   What would definitely help parents, students and educators is for state officials to modify the state report card so that it more closely resembles the No Child Left Behind Act. This is what needs to happen. The state law needs to mirror the No Child Left Behind Act. Whether we like it or not, NCLB is law. Making the report cards more closely resemble NCLB would help prevent confusion of two different rating systems. Also, it's key for parents to get involved and stay involved in their children's education by visiting the schools and volunteering. We think these changes would help Crook County schools progress.
   Shelby Case
   for the editorial board