Restructuring begins with school year

10 ‘failing’ schools will be restructured in U-46
By Tara Garcia Mathewson

Scham family

Linda Scham of Elgin thinks her children, Jakob, 10, and Kayla, 9, are getting a good education at Washington Elementary School in Elgin. The school has been deemed failing by the federal government and will undergo restructuring this year. Photo by Brian Hill.

After her son finished kindergarten at Washington Elementary School in Elgin, Linda Scham decided to send him and his younger sister to parochial school. Scham said Jakob, now 10, had a great kindergarten teacher, but she and her husband were worried about neighborhood gangs and whom their children might make friends with.

Last year, Jakob returned to Washington for fourth grade, and Kayla, now 9, enrolled as a third-grader. Scham called her prior gang concerns a false alarm.

While Washington is one of 10 elementary schools in Elgin Area School District U-46 labeled chronically failing by federal standards, Scham is confident they’re getting a good education.

“They like it there,” Scham said. “They’re excelling.”

But the fact that plenty of parents and educators think highly of the instruction in U-46 schools means nothing when it comes to the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Washington will join Elgin schools Channing, Garfield, Highland, Hillcrest, Huff, Lords Park and Sheridan along with Laurel Hill and Parkwood, both in Hanover Park, in the federal restructuring process, which requires the district take aggressive action to improve the schools.

The No Child Left Behind Act laid out an ambitious growth timeline that required schools to steadily increase the number of students meeting standards in reading and math. By 2014, schools nationwide are supposed to have 100 percent of their students meeting state standards.

For most schools that will not be the case.

And while many educators call the NCLB goals unrealistic, thousands of schools across the country have not been able to escape the consequences of failing to meet them.

Read the full article here.


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