School systems in Alabama have been steered away from fretting about Annual Yearly Progress results as state education officials tout a new initiative to measure achievement, improve graduation rates and graduate prepared students.
The state initiative is known as Plan 2020, and is currently in development as schools finish a final year under AYP. These standards are used to rank and assign status to a school or school system based on a requirement of 100 percent attainment of all goals for all students.
AYP is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which mandates that all students must reach 100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014, a goal former state Superintendent Joe Morton characterized as unrealistic and a fallacy.
Nearly 75 percent of Alabama schools made AYP, or reached 100 percent of their goals during the 2011-12 school year, and another 13 percent achieved 90 percent or more of their goals, according to the Alabama School Journal.
In results announced by the Alabama State Department of Education, 26 of 132 school systems did not meet AYP, compared to the 2010-11 school year when 49 systems missed the mark.
Alabama is ranked second in the U.S. in federal funding for education, 14th in state money and 44th in local funds, according to a 2011-12 report by the ASDE.
Limestone County Schools was placed in the school improvement category for missing AYP as a system for two consecutive school years after falling shy of special education benchmarks in grades 3-12 in reading and math.
Cedar Hill, Blue Springs, Piney Chapel, Owens, Johnson and Creekside elementary schools and Clements High School all made AYP from the Limestone County school system.
East Limestone and Tanner high schools each made at least 90 percent, while Ardmore, Elkmont, West Limestone and Elkmont high schools topped 88 percent or higher. As a whole, the county’s high schools did not reach their overall reading goal by 2.26 points.