Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Eleven Schools "Academically Unacceptable" for Austin ISD

Below are links to listen to audio of the AISD news conference on this issue. -Patricia


Austin School Administrators have their work cut out for them now that the state has declared 11 schools as academically unacceptable.


(news conference audio run time: 34 min, 16 sec)

But all is not gloom and doom for AISD, because more than a hundred schools in the district are considered either "acceptable" or "exemplary" by the Texas Education Agency.

Superintendent Pat Forgione admits there's not a level playing field educationally in Austin.

"Just give me your zip code and I can tell you your wealth, right, in Austin?," Forgione said, in a Friday afternoon news conference. "We don't have a level playing field, but when Campbell Elementary School can go exemplary, we know that everyone can do it."

Forgione says new programs, better training for teachers and wiser investments are slowly turning things around. But he says the testing standards are still very new.

"I've been 35 years doing this. This is a new world, this accountability," he says. "You see, you have five subject areas and five subgroups? That's 25 cells. You must make every one of them."

Forgione says he understands the stakes are high for getting academic standards up to state levels.

"It's about a sense of urgency. Pay now, or you pay five times as much at the big house. We've gotta stop our young men from going to Huntsville. We've got to get them literate."

But the superintendent has a message, a reality check of sorts, for some of the district's students.

"You know, my problem isn't a few kids skipping school. It's a lot of kids coming and skipping classes," Forgione said.

AISD schools which ranked Academically Unacceptable by state standards include: (HS=high school; MS=middle school; ES=elementary school) Johnston HS, Reagan HS, Crockett HS, Pearce MS, Garcia MS, Becker ES, Travis Heights ES, Norman ES, Winn ES, Overton ES.

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