Choosing a School and No Child Left Behind (page 2)
Parent Tip: Know Your Options Under the No Child Left Behind Act for Children in Public Schools That Are "In Need of Improvement"
Parents of children in public schools designated as "in need of improvement" can choose another public school or supplemental educational services such as tutoring.
If your child's public school receives federal Title I funds, it must let you know how well the students in the school are learning. The school district must contact you if the school does not meet the academic standards set by the state for two consecutive years. You can find out how well your school is doing by looking at the school's report card.
If your child's school has been identified by the state as in need of improvement, the school district must give you the choice of keeping your child in that school or sending him or her to another public school.
If your child attends a school that has needed improvement for more than a year, your school district is required to give you a list of organizations and institutions that provide tutoring or extra help outside of the regular school day. This extra help is called "supplemental educational services". If your child is eligible for this help, and your income is low, the school district may pay for these extra services. Such services may include before- and afterschool tutoring in reading, other language arts, or math.
If you have not heard from your public school about whether the school is 'in need of improvement' and whether your child qualifies to receive supplemental educational services, contact the school or the school district and ask for the person/s in charge of choice and supplemental services programs. You can also go to your state department of education's Web site for a list of schools in need of improvement and approved supplemental educational services providers. If you have difficulty finding these lists, call the U.S. Department of Education at 1-888-814-6252 for help in reaching your state contact, or go to the U.S. Department of Education's Web site at http://www.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/nclb/sea.html for a list of contacts in your state.
Keep These 4 Steps in Mind:
Parent Tip: Check the School District's Report Card for Public Schools
No Child Left Behind requires school districts that receive federal funds to provide a report card on how its schools and the school district are doing. For individual schools, the report card will include whether the school has been identified for school improvement and how its students performed on state tests compared to other students in the school district and the state.
For the district, the report includes the combined test scores of the students at all the district's schools.
Public school report cards should include:
Students' scores on state tests, broken out by student subgroups;
How many students performed at the 'basic,' 'proficient,' and 'advanced' levels on the tests;
Numbers and names of schools that need to improve in the district;
Qualifications of teachers; and
Percentage of students who were not tested.
Parent Tip: Know Your Options Under the No Child Left Behind Act for Children
in Public Schools That Are Unsafe
Parents of Children in unsafe public schools may have the opportunity to transfer their children to safe public schools.
Children should not have to attend unsafe schools. NCLB requires public schools to offer parents the opportunity to transfer their children to safe public schools if the state designates their public elementary or secondary schools as unsafe. Your children must also be offered opportunities to transfer to other public schools in the district if they have been the victims of violent crimes while in school or on school grounds. To find out if your child's school has been designated as unsafe by the state, you can contact either your local school district office or the state department of education. A list of state contacts can be found at www.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/nclb/sea.html.
From the Minnesota Department of Education
10 Things to Look for in a School
Vibrant parent-teacher organization
Children are neither invisible nor scared to be at school
Gut reaction that this is the school for your child
Families like yours are welcome, and their concerns are acknowledged
You are satisfied with the school's results on standardized tests and school report cards
Source: Minnesota Department of Education, Office of Choice and Innovation
Parent Tip: Start Early & Cover All the Steps
Begin the process of choosing a school as early as possible.
Find out as soon as possible about the deadlines for applying to the schools you are considering.
Note that some schools require applications much earlier than others.
Step 1. Consider your child and your family.
Step 2. Gather information about schools.
Step 3. Visit and observe schools.
Step 4. Apply to the school(s) you choose.
Parent Tip: Find Helpful Resources at the U.S. Department of Education's
Choice Web Site
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) provides information regarding the choices available to parents seeking the best educational opportunities for their children.
Office of Innovation and Improvement
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202
Web Sites for Directories & Other Information
Choice Web Site www.ed.gov/nclb/choice/index.html?src=ov
Many other Web sites provide information related to choice.
U.S. Department of Education has information for parents at www.ed.gov (Click on the 'Parents' box.)
Council of Chief State School Officers (links to state education agencies where you can learn about school performance and supplemental educational services providers) www.ccsso.org
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) (articles and reports on topics related to school choice) www.eric.ed.gov
National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (search for public and private schools) http://nces.ed.gov/globallocator
Office of Non-Public Education, U.S. Department of Education (links to nonpublic school organizations, private school locator, and other information about nonpublic education) www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/nonpublic/index.html
Parental Information and Resource Centers (directory of centers across the country) www.pirc-info.net/pircs.asp
SchoolResults.org (comparative performance data) www.schoolresults.org
U.S. Charter Schools (information about charter schools)
Web sites for homeschoolers: The Web has many resources, including instructional materials, assistance on legal issues, links to support groups, and others.
Web sites for homeschoolers are too numerous to list here, but a search on terms such as 'homeschool' or 'homeschooling' should lead you to those sites that best match your interests and needs.
Recently Published Books
Here are just a few of the many books that discuss issues related to choosing a school for your child and offer additional tools that parents can use to help them make the decision.
Hassel, Bryan C. and Hassel, Emily Ascue, (2004). Picky Parent Guide: Choose Your Child's School with Confidence, The Elementary Years (K-6). Ross, Calif.: Armchair Press.
Henderson, Anne T. and Mapp, Karen L., (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, (2002). Austin, Tex.: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.
Henderson, Anne T., (2002). No Child Left Behind: What's in It for Parents. Lexington, Ky.: Parent Leadership Associates.
Office of Innovation and Improvement, (2004). Innovations in Education: Creating Strong District School Choice Programs. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.
Office of Innovation and Improvement, (2004) Innovations in Education: Creating Strong Supplemental Educational Services Programs. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.
Office of Innovation and Improvement, (2004) Innovations in Education: Successful Charter Schools. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.
Office of Innovation and Improvement, (2004) Innovations in Education: Successful Magnet Schools. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.
Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)
1710 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Suite 1200 Washington, DC 20036 202-544-9870 www.baeo.org
Center for Education Reform (CER)
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 204 Washington, DC 20036 202-822-9000 www.edreform.com
Council for American Private Education (CAPE)
13017 Wisteria Drive #457 Germantown, MD 20874 301-916-8460 www.capenet.org
Education Leaders Council (ELC)
1225 19th Street, NW Suite 400 Washington, DC 20036 202-261-2600 www.educationleaders.org
Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation (GEO)
302 S. Meridian Street Suite 201 Indianapolis, IN 46225 317-524-3770 www.geofoundation.org
Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (Hispanic CREO)
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW Suite 408 Washington, DC 20037 202-625-6766 www.hcreo.org
730 Harrison Street San Francisco, CA 94017 1-877-4-WestEd www.wested.org
Note: The lists on the last three pages provide examples that may be useful for parents. No endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of these Web sites, books, or organizations should be implied.
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education.
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