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COE staff member comments on unrealistic standards for schools

Norm Durflinger, director of the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, spoke to the Peoria Journal Star last month on the challenges of No Child Left Behind and the struggles of Peoria District 150. For 2011-2012, only five of the district’s 24 schools made adequate yearly progress (AYP) under NCLB.

Durflinger, a former interim superintendent of the district, stated that NCLB forces schools to ensure that they are serving the needs of their students.

“But are its goals achievable? No, they’re not achievable,” Durflinger said.

To pass AYP, schools were required to improve test scores by 7.5 percent — a tall task. Durflinger states even a 3 percentage point increase marks “an astronomical improvement.”

Test scores also have implications for the economic welfare of any community. And attracting and retaining residents is a concern.

“Parents are looking at scores and determining what areas inside or outside of a district they want to move to,” said Durflinger.

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