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Nearly 90% of NM schools miss achievement goals

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Nearly 90 percent of New Mexico schools missed the latest targets for boosting student achievement, the Public Education Department reported Friday as it announced plans for replacing the federally mandated system for rating schools.

A total of 720 schools, or 86.6 percent, failed to make "adequate yearly progress" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That's up from 76.7 percent, or 634 schools, last year.

The improvement objectives were met by 111 schools, or 13.4 percent. That compares with 193 schools, or 23.3 percent, last year.

The federal school rating system has long been subject to criticism from educators who consider it too rigid because it takes a pass-or-fail approach rather than measure the progress that students or schools might be making. The system imposes higher student achievement targets each year, making it highly likely that school ratings worsen annually.

Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said the state will ask the federal government this fall to allow New Mexico to use its own school rating system rather than continue with the federally mandated model.

Under a new law enacted this year at the request of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, the state plans to assign grades A to F to schools based mostly on student performance.


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