Educators have been complaining about the No Child Left Behind Act since it was passed near the beginning of the decade. Schools across the country have struggled to meet the federally mandated performance standards. And Columbia, which prides itself on its public school system, is no different.
Chris Belcher, superintendent for the Columbia Public School District, began working for the district in July and has said he's disappointed with this year's results, which saw only four schools in the district meet the state's progress standards. Two schools face "corrective action," which could mean new curriculum and staff or an extension of the school year.
Columbia's problems aren't unique. Schools across the state are struggling to meet the performance goals that are supposed to bring the nation's public schools to 100 percent proficiency by 2014. Out of Missouri's 2,210 public schools, 495 are under sanctions for not meeting performance standards, up from 347 last year. Overall, 64 percent of the state's schools failed to meet "adequate yearly progress."
Rather than pushing schools to make more students proficient in math and communication arts, more and more schools seem to be falling behind. It's yet to be seen whether the mandated "corrective actions" will have any effect on the district's scores, but to many, reaching 100 percent proficiency in only five years may seem like quite a task.
Last year, only three of Columbia's schools met state standards; adding one school to that list is not much of an improvement, but schools across the state are struggling with the same problems.
Are Columbia schools' test scores cause for concern?