So it probably came as a shock to many of us to see that the FCPS failed to meet the standards of the Federal “No Child Left Behind” law in 2007.
According to today’s Post, the number of schools that failed to make their “AYP” (or adequate yearly progress) for NCLB included well-respected local schools such as Lanier Intermediate, Little Run Elementary and Frost Intermediate.
Are these families making a mistake by assuming that our County schools are the best? Or are the Federal tests an arbitrary measure of success?
The answer is “no” and “yes” (in that order).
First of all, the methodology of AYP is suspect as it penalizes schools that started off with high-achieving results in education. Sometimes they have nowhere to go but down (or sideways).
Second, Fairfax County manages an enormous population of first-generation students who struggle with English, even as they succeed in math and science. This fact is directly related to the failure of many County schools to meet AYP for English skills. Thanks to new Federal rules — which fail to qualify results for English proficiency – the County’s scores are adversely impacted.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t use standardized tests. We should. However, they are not the true judge of our school system in Fairfax. Permit me an example.
This morning, I met a group of scholarship winners sponsored by the League of Korean-Americans Virginia. Many of them were new immigrants to the U.S. and are still learning English, even as they attend high school.
You will not a more motivated group of young people. They are already leaders in the community and in the classroom. Their parents came to Fairfax specifically to see them succeed. They are headed on to big things, because they are willing to work for the American dream.
That’s the best endorsement of a school system that I know.