State School Superintendent Tommy Bice answers questions after the release of a list of schools designated as failing under the Alabama Accountability Act on June 18, 2013 in Montgomery, Ala. (Julie Bennettfirstname.lastname@example.org)
The Alabama Department of Education is expected to release a new list of failing schools at some point next week, as the state updates a list based on old test scores.
That used test data from 2007 through 2012 to find the schools that ranked in the bottom six percent at least three times over six years.The new list will use test scores from last school year. Those scores were released without fanfare this fall. That means school will now be evaluated based on performance from 2008 through 2013.Malissa Valdes-Hubert, spokesperson for the state department, said the state anticipates releasing the new list next week, although she could not specify a day.Under the Alabama Accountability Act, passed last year, students at a "failing" school can request a transfer to another school or another system.Most significantly, the new state law allows students in a failing school to use public money to switch to private school. Parents can receive a refunded tax credit of about ,500 for each student who leaves a failing school for a participating private school.But 719 transferred to another public school within their same system under the Alabama Accountability Act. Only 18 found transfers to a willing neighboring system.If a school comes off the list, the state act allows students to keep their transfer through the highest grade available at the school they left.But don't expect many schools to come off the list. Given the way the math works, only eight schools have enough success behind them to have a shot at improving next week. The state combined results in math and English across all grades and across three different tests to arrive at a single accountability score for each school. The state has those scores for non-failing schools, so it's impossible to say how many non-failing schools are at risk of landing on the new list.
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