Last Modified: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 1:44 PM
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Education officials say the number of public schools facing state sanctions rose by 33 percent this year amid tougher state standards.
Barry Landry, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, tells The Advocate a total of 180 schools are listed as academically unacceptable, up from 135 last year.
The list represents 13 percent of public schools statewide.
Penny Dastugue, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the figures are actually encouraging.
Dastugue noted that 84 schools that were below the new, more rigorous standard last year improved enough to stay off the list this time.
"I think it is amazing," she said.
Schools have to achieve minimum scores on performance evaluations to avoid state sanctions.
The minimum this time is 75 out of 200 points, up from 65 last year.
Backers of the higher standard said it would improve student performance.
Opponents said it is unfair to struggling school districts.
The scores are based mostly on test results, including LEAP, which fourth- and eighth-graders have to pass for promotion and iLEAP, another standardized test given to students in grades three, five, six and seven.
The list of troubled schools is usually released near the end of July because students generally have the option of transferring to higher-performing schools.
Schools on the list that fail to show sufficient gains can be taken over by the state after four years.
This year's results were sent to school districts on Friday.
The number of schools listed as academically unacceptable typically shoots up when the minimum score is increased.
Last year 264 public schools scored below 75 compared to 180 this year.
Dastugue said one reason may stem from efforts by superintendents to improve letter grades, which are issued in October. "It proves once again that when you measure something it gets results," she said.
Dastague said that roughly one in four public schools was within five points of a higher letter grade when the results were announced last year.
Posted By: What a Shame On: 7/31/2012
Title: Role the dice
This is nothing more than a play on numbers by you Ms. Dastague. An increase in an already unsatisfactory rating is just that, UNSATISFACTORY! Facts are facts; if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck; then it's a duck. If the failure rate increased by 33% then it's still a (but even bigger) failure rate.